Families have their differences and sometimes it causes a rift large enough that a “split” is made so all communication between the parties come to an end. Other times, this kind of scenario is played out in churches, and congregations are divided right down the middle. One group will leave and create their own church, apart from what was.
This kind of discord isn’t isolated to families or churches. Countries have done the same thing! Consider first the conflict between the North and South during the 1860’s. Ultimately the division created the Civil War, that lasted four years and cost thousands of lives on both sides, from both battle deaths and those caused by diseases.
Another such situation occurred in the early 1960’s in Germany. The disagreement was between communist and capitalist governments. What ensued was the building of the twelve-foot tall, ninety-six mile, Berlin Wall. This wall divided Germany’s largest city, and completely eliminated any access (by land) to East Berlin, for nearly thirty years!1 People could not get in or out through the barbed wire and concrete barrier that was protected with armed guards. This wall stood until 1989. It was a day of great celebration when the wall finally came down.
Along with the tumbling of the wall, came the attempt of reconciliation. This was not an easy accomplishment, given the East had been so removed from the growth of the West. Much was needed to repair all the harm, including buildings in disrepair, food and merchandise in short supply, medical facilities hugely lacking supplies, doctors well behind in education and new developments, and so much more. Many wondered who would pay for the rebuilding and supply jobs for the undereducated from the East, who now were free to move on both sides of the wall. There were many other questions, much to large for any one person to answer. It was going to take time, patience and a great deal of working together!
The rebuilding process after the fall of the Berlin Wall is no different than that during the rebuilding of the United States after the Civil War, churches that have split or families ripped apart through a disagreement. It’s difficult and painful for everyone involved.
Disagreements happen. It’s a part of life. But I challenge you to reflect on your family, friends and those in your workplace. Is there a growing sense of tension that has the potential to break apart relationships? As hard as it may seem to be, I encourage you to remedy the problem quickly, before you have a split that harms your spirit, wreaking havoc on relationships beyond your own, and settle it peacefully, before you end up building your own “Berlin Wall.”