The years following World War II were labeled the Cold War as nations exchanged threats and jockeyed for power. The Berlin Wall, built in August 1961, stood for almost 3 decades as one of the most powerful symbols of the smoldering animosity. Then, on November 9, 1989, it was announced that citizens could cross freely from East to West Berlin. The entire wall was demolished the following year.

The familiar Old Testament story of Joseph follows a favorite son whose brothers hated him (Gen. 37–50). Yet Joseph refused to build a wall of hatred between himself and his brothers who sold him into slavery. When a famine brought them face to face after many years, Joseph treated his brothers with kindness, saying, “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good . . . . And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (50:20-21), helping to restore the relationship between them.

Twenty-five years ago today, an oppressive man-made barrier was opened, offering freedom and reuniting families and friends.

If we’ve built walls of anger and separation between ourselves and others, the Lord is willing and able to help us begin tearing them down today.