Does the word community scare you?
I’m not exactly a fan of the word, let alone being part of one. There have been so many hurts in my past due to being in a community. Some were Christian communities, some not. After a while it seemed pointless in trying to find my place. I figured, “If I can isolate in this group of people, why don’t I just walk away?” I walked away from some groups when the drama became too much, or when I was simply exhausted from trying to fit in and find my place. The isolation came from that exhaustion and eventually I’d know to count the group as just another loss. I often questioned why I kept trying with each new group, expecting something different. Why try when it always turned out the same way in the end?
You see, in return from all of the hurt, I began thinking that I could do life alone. Then, when I came to know Jesus, I could do life with only Him. I didn’t need to let any friends in and I didn’t need to ask for help. I was fully capable of doing life with Jesus. Forget about the people He had placed in my life to guide me and to help me turn away from my sin. Nope, I didn’t need any of that and I was going to prove everyone wrong. Over and over again the wall was built, torn down, and built up again.
While trying to express my want to “do life alone”, I was being told that I needed to be part of a community. That God calls us to be in community with other believers. This was something I dismissed, continued to question, and kept trying to come up with reasons why I should walk away. My wanting to walk away centered on some sort of hurt. Of course, with every reason I found to walk away, there was always some truth someone had to show me it wasn’t what God wanted for my life.
My spiritual brothers and sisters, if one of our faithful has fallen into a trap and is snared by sin, don’t stand idle and watch his demise. Gently restore him, being careful not to step into your own snare. ~ Galatians 6:1 (The Voice)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read and heard that very scripture, usually from the NIV. Something new stood out to me while I was doing some journaling over Galatians 6. This verse is so clear about calling us into a community with other believers, to be there to help each other, to be there when someone is struggling. We aren’t told to cast them aside and have them figure it all out on their own. We aren’t told to tell them they should be better than they are and not deal with a certain behavior anymore because they should be over it. God calls us to help restore them.
As someone who is in recovery from addictions, “self” issues, and relational trust issues, this is a big revelation. I have experienced being cast aside. I’ve been told that I should have let go of certain behaviors by a certain time. I can also say that I’ve had people reach out and help to restore my life.
It’s because of what I’ve been through that encourages me to act on this verse. I don’t want to see fellow Christians go through rejection because of their past and their struggle to move on. In order to move on I needed God and a community of friends who would stand beside me through the ups and downs of the recovery process. I needed to be around people who had been doing the work God was preparing me to do. God helped me to find those people.
It’s time to step up and help our fellow Christians that are hurting. They walk through the doors of our churches every week. Some may have a difficult time expressing their hurt because of past rejection. Be that person that someone can come to. Be that person that someone can trust. Be that person that can help restore. Step outside of your comfort zone. It could help more than you know!
So, who is God asking you to help in the restoration process?