By Mark Briggs
here she stood against a backdrop of drab gray. Her hair was somewhere between brown and dishwater blonde and somewhat unkempt. Her eyes were striking - a slightly muted translucent blue-gray that could go green given the right surroundings. This teenage image of innocence held a sign I would have otherwise ignored, except for the question marks in her eyes.
I stopped in my tracks at the words smeared in gold on her black and crumpled cardboard. It said: “THERE IS NO GOD.”
How does she know this? How does she not know this? All sorts of questions were turning in my head! There was an internal conflict going on within me.
Immediately I loved her and wanted to help her somehow! How could I not? Yet, those words: “THERE IS NO GOD”? As a believer in God, I hated those words! As I stood there, I witnessed myself negotiating a deal with myself for a license to hate her.
Don’t I have a right and perhaps a legitimate reason to hate? These words about God being dead are offensive!
Then it occurred to me that our only chasm was her “statement.” As a young person, barely a teen, there was no way she could be wholly convinced her claim was true. It was, however, what she thought she believed and perhaps all she had. Apparently, she felt it enough to stand there passionately and declare it as truth. There were no question marks on her sign.
The resolution came when I stopped thinking about how to change her and started imagining how I could get to know her, serve her, and honestly love her. And, if I were lucky, I might build a bridge between the God I knew and the one she didn’t. To cross that bridge would be her choice. Regardless, my choice would be to love her unconditionally.
Florence Allshorn said, “To love a human being means to accept him, to love him as he is. If you wait to love him till he has got rid of his faults, till he is different, you are only loving an idea. He is as he is now. I can only love a person by allowing myself to be disturbed by him as he is. I must accept the pain of seeing him with hopefulness and expectancy.”
Instead of being angry at what separates us, maybe we could focus and work on what could unite us. A bridge of love needs no outside resources, just God. This heart- shaped crossing helps us “get over” things until we can understand things.
Paul of Tarsus said, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
(1Cor 13:130 NLT)
Faith allows us to choose an alternative. Hope provides a picture of what the result can be. But love, love crosses lines. It often breaks the rules to fulfill the golden one. It is the “touch-point” of cultures and the baton of generational legacy. On every causeway of success, you’ll find
a bridge of love. If not, then build one!