What is in the Vast Space Between Ourselves and Others?

“We do our best work and live our best lives when we charge into the vast space between ourselves and others.”  Joshua Wolf Shenk in Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs.


Why do we need to be encouraged to charge into the vast space between ourselves and others?  Inertia, caution and disappointment must be overcome to effectively charge into this sacred space.  To these obstacles we add:


  • Suspicion of the other
    • Racism/genderism/ageism
    • Xenophobia
    • Ethnocentrism


  • Awareness of lack of human graciousness
    • I will be judged
    • I will be excluded
    • I will be punished or made to pay the price.


“The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties . . . but right through every human heart.” (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago: 1958)


What is in this vast space of the human heart?  Colossians 3:5-17


Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: I might feel
·      Sexual immorality You will take advantage of me
·      Impurity I might lose purity
·      Passion I might lose sight of wisdom
·      Evil desire You see me through the lens of evil desire
·      Covetousness I am a means to an end rather than a person
·      Idolatry I exist to serve you and your false gods
On account of these the wrath of God is coming vs. 6 This is not minor.  God’s wrath is coming on account of these!
In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. These may have been in our past when we were living in them.  Not any longer.  We live a new life in Christ!
But now you must put them all away: I might feel
·      Anger I am the recipient of your outburst of emotion
·      Wrath I am the recipient of your emotion with vindictive action.
·      Malice I am the recipient of your desire to inflict harm and suffering
·      Slander My character is verbally defamed and my reputation damaged
·      Obscene talk I am the recipient of talk that is offensive to morality and decency.
·      Do not lie to one another I never know the truth or what is being said about me


Without a spectacular work of God in the vast space between one another, can we imagine the danger of navigating the space between (Colossians 3:11)


  • Greek and Jew? The other is of a different nation, ethnicity, language etc.
  • Circumcised and uncircumcised? The other is of a different religious
  • Barbarian and Scythian? The other is of a different civility.
  • Slave and free? The other is of a different social or economic


Something AMAZING happens when two people respond to Jesus’ charge into the space of our hearts.  Colossians 3:11


“but Christ is all, and in all.”


12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, I might feel
·      Compassionate hearts, My best interest is being considered
·      Kindness I am the recipient of grace in action
·      Humility My low estate isn’t looked down upon
·      Meekness I am being treated gently
·      Patience You have time for me to grow and develop
·      Bearing with one another You are lifting me and holding me up
·      Forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven You extend to me the forgiveness you received from the Lord
And above all these, put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony Above all……I am loved by you and we are bound together in perfect harmony
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts  
Be thankful  
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly  
·      Teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom  
·      Singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God  
Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus  
Giving thanks to God the Father through Jesus.