Someone once wrote, "fences make good neighbors."
I get that.
We all need our space.
We all need to "get away from it all," and relax.
Yet, what I also know is that we don't have to build physical walls to keep people out; we can build emotional and relational walls (to keep people out) that can be just as high as any prison wall in the country.
Walls have been built since the beginning of time.
I read today that in the first century, the Roman emperor Hadrian built a 75-mile wall across Roman Britain.
In the 1870s, Argentina built a line of trenches and watchtowers called the Zanja de Alsina to protect Buenos Aires from invasion by indigenous peoples.
The Berlin Wall went up in 1961, dividing East from West for almost 30 years.
In 1975, South Africa built a 3,500-volt electric fence dubbed the Snake of Fire to keep the civil war in Mozambique from spilling over into the frontier.
In the middle of the night in August 2006, Italian officials constructed a steel wall around Via Anelli, a run-down neighborhood known for drug trafficking and prostitution.
What are the negative effects of walls?
They can divide us.
Either intentionally or unintentionally we can keep people out from true relationship, from a real relational connection.
We do this because we have been hurt in the past, and "we are never going to let ourselves be hurt like that again."
But "keeping people out" does not help us - it hurts us.
Walls don't just divide us.
They challenge our emotions.
After the Berlin Wall went up, East German psychiatrists observed that the Berlin Wall caused mental illness, rage, dejection, and addiction. The closer to the physical wall people lived, the more acute their disorders.
The only cure for "Wall Disease" was to bring the Wall down.
Sure enough, in 1990, psychiatrists noted the "emotional liberation" felt after November 9, 1989 when the Wall finally fell. Thousands of jubilant Germans climbed the Wall, wept, and embraced each other atop the concrete, and proceeded to tear the Wall down with joyful abandon.
I would suggest to you today that (with the help of the Holy Spirit) you tear down your walls and let people in. In missing out on the pain by keeping your walls up, you also miss out on the joy and happiness of fulfilling relationships with others.
Just a thought for a Tuesday.