One thing you can find all over Honduras are big, giant walls. You can find them around schools, homes, stores, and even public libraries. They almost always come topped off with barbed or electrical wire, or some other kind of stabbing painful device, like rusty nails pointy-side up. You can’t really go anywhere without finding some kind of wall or fence, besides the poorest areas, where their houses are made out of discarded metals and wood or sheets all patched together unevenly. But even in those areas you can usually find at least one small fence.
It makes complete sense for them to have these walls. Without them, you are very likely to be robbed, raped, assaulted or even murdered. It is a necessity for these people to own the walls.
A few weeks ago, I was in Honduras and staying with my upper middle class friend and her family. She lives in San Pedro Sula. She, her cousin, and her older sister took me and my friend, Sarah, around San Pedro and showed us all of the giant mansions of the millionaires.
But there was a problem.
We didn’t really see the mansions.
Can you take a guess why?
That’s right. Walls.
Because these families were so wealthy and had such a huge house to protect, they had to have even larger walls. We could maybe see the top of the roof. Each wall was beautifully made: thick, with large, ostentatious doors and were all made out of expensive brick and other gorgeous materials. You could tell a person’s wealth by the extravagance of their wall.
I laughed at the irony, and joked about how in America we actually saw the mansions when we went mansion searching, not their crazy walls.
At first, they all laughed with me. And then one of them got slightly sad-looking and said to me:
“I wish Honduras was more like the United States. You guys don’t have walls. You don’t even need them.”
And she was right on one thing.
We don’t need walls.
And in a physical sense, we don’t really have them either.
But in a spiritual sense, our walls are higher and more exclusive then any of the Honduran mansions’ walls combined.
While the Hondurans put up walls to protect themselves, we put up “walls” to keep everything out. We enjoy our comfortable lives. We don’t want to change it. I find myself in this position all the time. Sometimes I second guess going back because the luxury I can find here is so nice and oh-so-addicting.
Before I went to Honduras, I was very much a “wall” person. I knew about poverty and the need for missions in other countries, but in my head and my heart I’d block it out. So much so, that the only way I ended up going in the first place was an immense amount of peer pressure. We want to believe that someone else will take care of it. That it isn’t a big deal. That staying inside our walls won’t affect anyone.
But there aren’t enough people to “take care of it”.
It is the biggest deal.
And staying inside will not only affect the outside negatively, but also the people on the inside.
Our walls, even though we believe they keep us from the dangers of the outside like:
– Giving up some kind of luxury to donate
– Being uncomfortable in a place of poverty for a week or more
– Being hurt, raped, or killed by a dangerous person
– Feeling out of place in another culture
Are actually endangering us by staying inside. By not going outside, we miss out on:
– Learning about a new culture
– Receiving unending love by insanely gracious people and cute kids
– Finding a passion we didn’t know existed
– Adventuring through a beautiful, new land
– Changing our views on life based on a new experience
Staying inside the walls not only harm others who need our help, but harm ourselves as well.
As much as we think they need us, the truth is we need them.
I can personally say that going outside my walls has changed my life completely. We’re talking total 180. I am so much more happy now then I ever was before. And the best part is, I’ve become 10x as rich in spiritual luxury than I ever was in my physical luxury. But that’s a story for a another day.
Today I ask you to challenge yourself.
Go Outside Your Walls.
Even if it’s just to a poorer area of town that you feel uncomfortable in.
Just go somewhere.
Slowly, but surely, break down those walls.
Go all Joshua on it.
Even if you never truly break it, at least lessen its size.
Ask any wall-breaker. Life is better without barriers.