For he [Christ] himself is our peace, who has made the two [Jew and Gentile] one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility… (Ephesians 2:14 NIV)

As long as people have been around, there have been walls. Walls made of stone, wood, brick or concrete, it does not matter; they are all designed to serve as barriers. Walls may act as fences to mark personal property or they may hide things from view. They may keep prisoners or zoo creatures in or keep unwanted guests out. Good purposes and bad, walls are what we make them.

Walls have been in the news. In America, the question was raised again about who should pay the $12-36 billion for construction of a wall along the southern border. This year marked the first time in American politics that a wall became a pivotal campaign issue .

Soon to be former-President Barack Obama reportedly has a wall of his own going up in front of his Washington D.C.-area residence. In an interesting juxtaposition, Mr. Obama has steadfastly opposed enforcing laws restricting illegals at the border, but, as ex-president and private citizen, he is erecting a brick barrier to prevent snooping.

No doubt walls have their place, such as protecting privacy, but ponder a moment their negative impact. First, building and maintaining them consumes time and resources. Speaking of negative impact, fear and insecurity–emotions that can enslave–are prominent motivations behind creating walls.

Walls provide a measure of security, which is why multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious (or non-religious) societies produce physical, mental and emotional walls. Each group vies for position. Keep out those who do not belong and keep in those who fit the mold–that is why walls are considered necessary. Dividing walls are inevitable when people choose isolation over communication.

Control is also why we have walls. I want to address this issue next in relation to modern Christianity and the church. As we go forward, consider this: The walls we build to divide are liable to collapse on us.