Highly successful salespeople spend an incredible amount of time and energy on cultivating relationships. They know that in order to close the deal a journey of listening and sharing, of connecting and coordinating is necessary. The relationship bridge is worth the effort to get to the sale and hopefully many more sales in the future.
C.S Lewis is said to have walked in late on a heated dissuasion between several of his friends including J.R. Tolkien. They were debating what makes Christianity distinctive from other religions. In hearing their conversation, Lewis chimed in “oh that’s easy, it’s grace”. That statement settled the argument and reveals to us the nature of the bridge in Christianity.
In Acts 7, Stephens face is flowing with the presence of God. He is on trial for made up accusations. His defense includes relational connections with his accusers through Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and David. He passionately built a bridge of grace to the hostile crowd surrounding him. He then tied in their rejection of the Messiah and looked up to see Jesus sitting on the right hand of the throne. The crowd laid their coats at the feet of Saul (who later becomes Paul) and stoned Stephen to death.
Stephens legacy points us to ours. We, too, look to share great news with a hurting and sometimes hostile world. Hopefully those around us will see the Spirit shining through us as we live like Jesus.
In loving those around us may be build a bridge of grace that is so strong that it will hold the truth.
As parents, we look to build a bridge of grace to our children as well. Truth is more readily received when it is delivered in an envelope of grace.