Yesterday, I was at a very difficult Senate Committee Hearing in Salem, Oregon and gave testimony at the hearing. There are some well-meaning Senators who have proposed a Healthcare-related bill that directly infringes on some of our medical and human rights. As an RN, a U.S. citizen and Oregon resident, as well as someone who understands the impact of this bill, I felt it was my duty to be there. Honestly, it really was a difficult time for me personally, as I have very strong beliefs about this bill, and some of the interactions I witnessed were very upsetting and disappointing.
I had the opportunity to speak with the main sponsor of the bill at the end, a woman who I vehemently disagree with and will only probably ever agree with if she changes her mind. It was apparent throughout the hearing that this woman was VERY upset, hurt, and angry, and in many ways during the hearing was responding accordingly. The Lord put it on my heart to apologize to her on behalf of those who support my side of this medical cause who have written her hate mail and have been extremely hateful to her. At first I liked the idea, then watching her conduct in the natural realm I tossed the idea, but then I decided that she did indeed need to hear what I had to say, and that she needed my apology.
When I apologized to her, what I witnessed was somewhat surprising to me. As I apologized to this woman on behalf of other people, tears literally began forming in her eyes. I told her that I believed her heart was in the right place regardless of whether we agreed or not, and I honored her in that moment. Before we parted company a minute later, she even verbally honored me for my service in the medical field and let me know that her husband does what I do as well, and that she understands my job is difficult. What I felt transpiring in the invisible realm around us was that God was building a bridge in that moment, and beginning to heal her heart and the division between our groups with opposing belief systems.
You see, it is easy to malign others who disagree or even outright oppose us. It can be easy to turn that person into a villain in our minds, and forget that he or she too has dreams, hopes, fears, and emotions. He or she also has a heart that can be wounded by our words.
At the end of the day, we need to remember what 2 Corinthians 5:19b says, “And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” That IS our message, our mission. It doesn’t matter whether I agree with that senator or not. It changes nothing about what God has empowered all of us here on earth to do. In any and every situation, we are the ones who open up hearts, who build bridges instead of walls, and who reconcile.
I do not know the long-term impact of that conversation we had on that woman’s life, but I do know this: If we ever meet again, she will be favorably disposed to me personally. Whatever message it is that I carry the next time around, she will be open to hearing me even if she won’t listen to a single other person because I have built a bridge. I also strongly believe that my words began to bring healing into a heart that is filled with pain and probably has been hurt many times by many other people long before this particular Senate bill. It is impossible to go wrong when we release love on other people. After all, love never fails.
Jesus was very clear in the book of Matthew that if we have anything against our brother that WE are to go and leave our offering before God and go make things right with our brother. It is not time to wait until someone else gets a heart change and their change isn’t actually necessary to begin to reconcile. What DOES need to happen is WE need to ask God to give us a glimpse of His heart for them. When we get a revelation, even for a few moments, of God’s heart for another person, it is extremely difficult to not let that revelation influence the way we view them. It is for this reason, I believe, that Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:16, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.” When we view another from God’s view it changes us, and the love that will overflow out of us will change them.
Ask the Lord today who He would have you build a bridge with. Who do you need to reconcile with? If you ask Him to show you His heart for them, He will most certainly be faithful to do it.