According to legend, a man goes out to build a bridge so he can more easily travel from
one end of his property to the other, but when he arrives at the creek with his measuring tape,
he discovers that none of his poles is long enough to reach from bank to bank. After much
deliberation, tossing around in his mind several options, he simply cuts a few feet off the end of
the tape. (The Hammer of God, Bo Giertz)
What would you say about that solution? You would probably say that it, in the end,
would not work.
What would you say about the man? You most likely would judge him to be foolish.
I would agree with both assessments.
Over 3,000 years ago, God gave His people a measuring tape, a standard by which we
gauge, and He guides, human conduct. We call that standard “The Ten Commandments.” Time
has proven this measuring tape to be useful. Individuals who have conformed their lives to each
commandment, as best as they could, usually wind up contributing to their families and
communities in positive ways. For the most part, they are givers.
On the other hand, those persons who disregard those standards, in general, do not
contribute to society, neither are their lives effective or productive. Often, those individuals are
These latter examples have shortened the tape. They have chosen to have the standards
conform to their own desires rather than conform their behavior to the God-given norm.
Some groups of churches have shortened the tape, as well. In order to attract more
members, in their way of thinking, some church bodies have relaxed the moral expectations of
the faith, allowing, or even promoting behavior that was unthinkable fifty years ago. The
denominations’ positions have not had the desired result. Those groups have declined in
membership through the previous five decades. It seems that the general public, as opposed to
the denominational leaders, hungers for clear expectations and well-defined principles, not the
distorted values of culture. Their hunger appears to be driven by God Himself. Blessed are
those who hunger and thirst for righteousness… (Matthew 5:6)
Here’s another disturbing trend.
It is now possible to attend worship in certain churches for months, perhaps even years,
and never hear the word “sin.” If we are not sinners, Christ’s death on the cross has no
meaning. Forgiveness and grace are reduced to irrelevant abstracts. Furthermore, there is a
disconnect between sin and the consequences of sin. Because there is no punishment for sin,
there is no incentive for a person to humble him/herself to ask for forgiveness. Those are the
I have made an additional observation in over forty-five years of ministry.
Some denominations no longer view the Bible as the inspired Word of God.
Not only do these organizations ignore the truths of Scripture, such as, the Incarnation,
Crucifixion, and Resurrection, but they also disregard the moral statements evident in the Bible.
We find these moral statements in Exodus 20 (The Ten Commandments) and in Matthew 5-7
(The Sermon on the Mount). These two passages and many others challenge us to live by a
higher standard. The Bible also reminds us that when our lives fall short of these standards, God
treats us with mercy and grace, if only we appeal to Him for forgiveness.
We have already concluded that the man who shortened the measuring tape was
foolish. What is your take on the individuals and denominations who lower ancient, God-given
At the end, will they be able to cross the chasm?
Let’s be clear. It is not by our own efforts that we are saved; it is only by the grace of
Jesus Christ that we are saved; it is only by the mercy of God the Father that we are forgiven; it
is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to live by God’s will.
Let Christ help you build a bridge to a better life.