Monday, July 18, 2011

Community- I really don't like it but I get it.

The clear teaching of the New Testament is that the body of Christ is to be people deeply connected to each other, supporting each other, and filling each other's hearts.
                                               Friendship for Grown-Ups  by Lisa Whelchel

Community.  Yuck.  I rebel against it.  I don't want to need it.  Yet everyone time I turn around I read about it or it's the topic of the sermon on Sunday.   I know what evil things a community can dish out.  Sadly, I saw this in so many ways throughout my childhood, and later in adulthood. 
Our words become the mirror in which others see themselves
                                       The Power of a Woman's Words by Sharon Jaynes

My identity was not in Christ and what He did for me.  I had my arms and legs wrapped so tightly around the approval of others that their rejection just broke me in a thousand little pieces.  Their words were my daily portion.  And yet I somehow could not learn the healthy balance of needing community and needing approval.
God made us to need Him and each other.  We need God.  We need his Word.  We need each other.
                                                   Friendship for Grown-Ups  by Lisa Whelchel

When I was around someone who gossiped I took it as a personal challenge that I could be a person that was so wonderful, so good, so great, that they would never speak ill of me.  Geez, that is so ridiculous just typing it!  It's that same game that comes from movies where the hunky, jerky guy always falls for the awkward girl and he totally changes his ways.  I think that's giving we humans the power that belongs to God. Only God can rearrange our souls.  No one can to it for me nor I them.  So, how do I live in community with all these expectations?  With all these fears of judgement?

Grace.  And lots of it.

Grace is nothing more nor less than the face that love wears when it meets imperfection, weakness, failure, sin"
                                     Friendship for Grown-Ups  by Lisa Whelchel
I never thought of grace this way.  I need it not only for others, but when looking at my own faults and shortcomings.  The only one with enough grace to cover all of us is Jesus.  And so, daily I pray and work towards losing my dependance and slowly loosening my grip on the approval of others.  In doing so, I find the most glorious freedom through Christ.  This freedom is not the same as the freedom of my own "Hey who cares what anyone thinks because I'm me so take THAT!"  No, this freedom is knowing that God loves me the way I was, the way I am, and the way I will be.  He loves me more and he knows me best.  No human can out do that, it is just not possible.  

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