Created For Community

Those of you who know me at all, know what I believe about relationships.  The first book (outside the Bible of course) in which God began to reveal to me my need for others was Stanley Grenz’s Created For Community.  Although I read the book over ten years ago, I still refer to it from time to time.  In my opinion, Grenz, as we say in the Southwest, “hits the nail on the head.”

Life is not meant to be lived alone.  We need each other.

I can’t number the times I’ve preached on the idea of community/relationships.  The Bible is full of texts that speak to this truth.  And yet, the longer I’m in full-time ministry, the more I realize in myself and see in others the challenge to be intentional with relationships.  In other words, I must choose to love.  I must walk with others – those like me, and those not like me.

Most likely, we’re all familiar with Jesus summarizing the commandments:  Love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.  Love your neighbor as you love yourself  (Mt. 22:37-39).  Most of us, have no problem with the first command.  It’s that one about our neighbor or brother that we struggle.  “But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ (Lk 10:29).  Hear that?  How often to we attempt to escape the second command?

Grenz makes the point that Christian belief should lead to Christian action.  Much more to say about that in another post.  But think about it!  What you believe is only half of the battle.  Now what?  You can say you love.  Show me!  Jesus prayed for unity for a reason (Jn 17).  Ted Gossard has some great thoughts at Jesus Community.

Here’s another thought.  God has a relationship with man until things are turned upside down.  “But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.’ He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked?  Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Gen 3:9-11)  That division caused by man affected all relationships.

And as long as we live separate from God and from one another, we never experience the life God intended.  Satan attempts to convince us we don’t need one another.  Our society adds to the lie of individualism.  The guilt we experience over sin causes us to hide from one another (and in our mind we hide from God).  It never works out.

I firmly believe when we understand a bit about grace and begin to live as gracious people, it’s much easier to walk in relationship.  Let’s commit to do that.  Let’s agree to lose the masks, act as if everything is alright, and attempt to fool one another.  We both know it’s not right!  Let’s not listen to the enemy and walk alone.  You need people – even those much different from you.  It’s what makes a family.  It’s what God intended.

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2 Responses to “Created For Community”

  1. It seems difficult these days to just reach out and tell someone when things aren’t right. One hopes things will get better and no one wants to know. Or one thinks they are being a burden. One who has sinned and is hiding in guilt is afraid of being judged. People who offer grace and their hearts and their time are few and one is lucky to have such a person and still.. It’s difficult to lose the mask… It leaves one vulnerable even to those they may feel loved by because one is afraid of disappointing them.

    “Christian belief should lead to Christian action” – I’d like to read more about that thought in terms of relationships. Thanks for your posts lately; reflective.

    • Why tell someone? Things will get better. I’m being a burden. I’m afraid of being judged. — all lies from Satan! Grace, love, and truth come from God. Vulnerability was intended from the Garden. And disappointment? Who’s perfect?

      Thanks for reading.

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