To Build and to Tear Down

A Word to Consider - To Build and to Tear Down
by Bill NeSmith

     Wisdom knows how to ‘speak the truth in love’.  Doing this is not always comfortable but necessary because truth and love build strength and protection while tearing down harmful obstacles.  In our Facebook, blog, ‘printable content everywhere’ world, we must all learn when we are building or tearing down.  The meek and the mild must walk closely with the warrior watchman if we are to properly navigate the treacherous waters that appear to be ahead. 

     Our world today is filled with great struggle.  Regarding people and nations, this struggle exists from within and without.  Nations are reeling from conflict, people groups are being challenged to define and even redefine themselves in order to resolve deep seated concerns they hold dear.  Regardless of how the world around us responds to such issues, the Church, the universal collection of righteous saints from every stream and tribe, must have as it’s foremost goal, a desire to stand strong and true to the Lord’s will and none other.

     All aspects and arenas of human interaction whether governmental, spiritual, or social are looking at the world around them and wrestling with the method and means necessary to resolve deep seated concerns while being true to values they hold most important.

     Speaking from a Christian perspective, one thing that is sorely missed in the world today is a bright light that clearly shines the way to the Lord with balance, wisdom, and truth that is found from an unwavering and steady source. This light will become brighter as God’s people come closer to walking together in unity and one Spirit.  We are making progress but the enemy is trying to stop us with limited success.

     Words and Actions are powerful in the way we interact with each other, defend what we hold dear, and confront wrongs and establish right.  How we use our words and actions is refined over time as we mature, grow in wisdom, and gain experience.  Because we all as individuals are being led by Holy Spirit, we must first resolve to seek His will above the will of those around us.  This is key.  We must also remain humble and teachable enough to make corrections along the way.

     How do we know what to say, when to say it, and how to say it?  One of the best ways is to understand clearly the reason you are doing something.  Is it to help or hurt, heal or break?  It is also important to know that sometimes the hard word could actually build rather than tear down.  Jesus understood the balance between building and tearing down when he rebuked Peter as recorded in Matthew 16:23, ‘"Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."’

     Jesus did not say these words to tear Peter down but to build him up and protect him from future wrong.  Simply being kind, smiling all the time and never raising the issue that is needed is not wisdom – it can be on the edge of cowardice if not dealt with properly.

     Let me share what I believe is necessary to understand as we move into this next year.   Isaiah 40 is a chapter that gives us keys to knowing when to build or tear down.

      3 A voice is calling,
            “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness;
            Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.

      4 “Let every valley be lifted up,
            And every mountain and hill be made low;
            And let the rough ground become a plain,
            And the rugged terrain a broad valley;

     Ezekiel 21:26 continues this stream of thought and shares God’s command to, ‘Exalt that which is low and abase that which is high.

     In all that we do or say we must build up what life has broken and torn down, what the devil and evil men have worked to pervert, and all that has simply fallen to decay and neglect.  When people are in the valleys or low places they cannot see clearly the path ahead and the journey gets too wearisome.  We must be sure yet careful to encourage and build with our words and actions.

     However, we must also tear down those high and lofty things by looking first within our own hearts.  Pride is a painful destroyer and it can sway us from our true calling and the Lord’s hard way.  Pride is also within our leaders who strive to do the ungodly while they gain and others lose.

     It is not always clear which words are building or tearing since we all come from different backgrounds, are at various stages of learning or are still seeing life through past wounds, but it is critical that we maintain a balance of humility and strength as we trust the Lord in others around us.  After all, sometimes you must speak the hard thing to prevent a wrong action and to confront the true and underlying issues that may not be seen by everyone.

     A promise is revealed as we go back to Isaiah 40 verse 5 – after filling or building up the low places and tearing down the obstructing high places – we see our ultimate goal that brings Him glory and sets the captives free.

      5 Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
            And all flesh will see it together;
            For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

     The familiar image drawn from Isaiah 11:6, of a lion laying down with a lamb, is taking on a whole new meaning as Christians learn to work together in their quest to honor God.  Trust is being developed and alternate perspectives are now able to be seen as the brotherhood of believers come together as one.  A unity in the Spirit is taking shape.

     The Body of Christ is learning to see the glory being revealed in others where we have previously not held an equal perspective.  We are learning that those who are different are not simply wrong but being used by the Lord in ways we are not yet familiar with.  Humility is growing which is a powerful force against evil.

     A critical eye or the ability to determine the righteousness of a matter is not the same as a critical spirit and the warrior must stand alongside the merciful intercessor as they both grow in righteous compassion.  We are rightfully different as we all come to the unity of the faith.  We are growing in our willingness and ability to build up the standard for truth while tearing down the lies and deceptions that surround us. 

     So, let us all learn from one another, giving room to grow and to learn how to speak and act as we serve the Lord without a fear of man and his reprisal.  As we draw close to Him and learn to do what He leads us to do, let us be found praying and defending the brotherhood of Christianity and in so doing we will make straight the way of the Lord so that He is seen as we grow in a reflection of His glory within us all.