I get a mental image of us Christians on one side of a huge cavernous gorge over a river filled with angry alligators. Something out of Indiana Jones. And the rope bridge is dangling by a thread and all those who don’t believe or aren’t sure what they believe are on the bridge or on the wrong side. It’s like Christians start yelling at them, which is always one of the least helpful things you can do in a crisis. Most of the time whatever you are yelling is unintelligible, and when you scream at someone it tends to distract them from whatever you are screaming at them to do. Like screaming “Don’t let go” which inevitably leads someone to panic and… let go.
Then there are those who stand on the side to watch and critique everyone’s survival techniques. We poke fun at the one who clings on for dear life and cries for mommy. Or the people who do absolutely nothing and are paralyzed by fear. It’s easy enough to sit back and think, that’s not what I would do.
And worse still, there are those who, much like Indiana Jones in the temple of Doom movie, are on the bridge hacking away at it to keep all the bad guys from getting too close. And in this analogy, the bad guys don’t always look like satan worshippers.
What we need, what the world needs, are more people who are willing to build and repair bridges. To take what’s left of the ropes and throw lifelines. To take scraps from our own clothes and belongings and tie makeshift ropes using whatever we can get our hands on, calling on skills we should have learned already, and saving lives. What we need to do is figure out how to bridge the gaps, how to reach out for those grasping and clinging to whatever seems like the best way to survive this life. We need to be running out onto the bridge, leaving our places of safety and comfort and pride, getting into the thick of it and pulling people aground. (Don’t miss the letter g in that word.) We need to stop standing on our high moral perches and start remember that not that long ago, we were on the wrong side. Once upon a time, someone reached out to us and pulled us from danger. Someone left his place of comfort and glory, to get into the trenches and slummed it up, spending his time looking for the lost and dying, the ones in danger and desperately grasping at anything and everything that promised some kind of life. He showed us the way to get to the other side and then he took the fall for us.
Oh that the people of God would be bridge builders and not burners. That we would point out the path and not from a distance, but from a place close by, willing to take the risks, but with the skill and experience of one who has already been rescued.