Breaking Down the Walls
photo by woordenaar
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What would you give to be reunited with a loved one after being separated for 30 years? Recently, I had the privilege of listening to Christine Lee speak about a reunion story I’ll never forget. Christine is from a 2nd generation Korean-American background. Her father grew up in North Korea before the split by the North and South regimes. During the Korean War, while Christine’s father was traveling in the south with his older siblings, the country was split into what we know as North and South Korea today. His mother was on the other side of that boundary. This meant they could not contact each other

35 years later

Not knowing whether the other was dead or alive, Christine’s father went on to establish his own family and career, eventually immigrating to the U.S.. But one day Christine’s father was suddenly informed that his mother in North Korea was still alive. Amazingly, an opportunity was made possible by the North Korean government for him to enter the country and briefly visit his mother. His wife and close friends were concerned for his safety. But whatever the risk, he was resolved that if there was a way to see his mother, he was going.

After waiting eagerly, he finally arrived in the capital city of Pyongyang, where his mother lived. When they saw each other, they embraced tightly. The last time his mother had seen him, he was a 12-year old boy. Now he had returned to her as a 47-year old man. The picture that captured that moment was one Christine will never forget: a small elderly Korean lady gripping as tight as she could to her son as he flung his head back to the sky with a jubilant release of laughter.

The Power of Being Reunited

There is an undeniable power in the reunion of loved ones. The longing to “come home”, to be reunited with a friend or family member we’ve been separated from can’t easily be shaken off. Do you have a friend or family member where there are dividing walls that keep you from reuniting? Christine’s father and grandmother were separated by a wall of political hostility. But we can easily have walls which seem just as impenetrable between us and a family member or friend – walls of anger, bitterness, disappointment, resentment, and pride. We may wish for a reunion like Christine’s father and his mother, but doubt that it’s possible.

What would it take for the dividing walls to break down that keep us from the ones we used to love and wish we could love again?

“The walls are so thick, so high.”

If we look at the wall or ourselves for the power to change, we won’t be able to find it. Our capacity to love again is drained. But there is a love available that has the power to break down any dividing wall of hostility. The image of Christine’s father and grandmother left a mark on me. This is because the picture of Christine’s father looking up to the sky in jubilant laughter struck me of the same way that we have a Heavenly Father who rejoices over us when we come to him with our burdens. He has broke down the dividing wall of hostility that separates us from him. The only thing that remains is whether we will receive his gift of reconciliation to us. When we know that our Heavenly Father has broken down the wall that separates us from him, we are empowered by his great love to take the first step in breaking down the walls that for too long, have separated us from our friends and family.

Have you experienced a love powerful enough to break down the walls of hostility in damaged relationships with your friends and family?

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