Each of us has wounds from the past. Some show directly on our exterior, others we’ve gotten good at hiding, even hiding them from ourselves so we can try to forget them.
The sad reality is that many of us even have scars from the bride of Christ, the church. I know I do.
I spend a lot of time discussing (both on this blog and in my church ministry context) the importance of deep, meaningful community. I believe that none of us can fully become who God designed us to be without the aid of Christian community.
Absent from people, living a significant life is not a possible reality.
But the scars hold us back.
Our scars tell us to keep our relationships at the mundane, surface level because we know that once a relationship goes beyond this level to something deeper, it can leave permanent scars.
Moving past the surface level of nominal friendships leaves us vulnerable to gaping wounds that we wonder will ever heal. I’ve long appreciated Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s call to us to seek after deep and meaningful Christian community, the kind that breaks through the thick walls our scars have built. Bonhoeffer says,
“Christians need other Christians who speak God’s Word to them. They need them again and again when they become uncertain and disheartened because, living by their own resources, they cannot help themselves without cheating themselves out of the truth.”
Someone on Twitter recently said this to me:
“I’ve been loved incredibly well by people who aren’t Christians and harmed deeply by Christians.”
As someone whose family was removed from what I thought was deep and meaningful community, I feel the pain of those words. They’ve been lived out within my family.
And yet I can’t help but wonder if this is the final answer. Are we relegated to licking our wounds for the rest of our lives?
Can we continue to point the finger without being part of the solution?
Is hiding the answer?
Clearly everyone needs time to heal, but this is not meant to be a lifelong process. At some point we must tear down the walls we’ve built to protect ourselves in order to have connection with others.
We always wait around for community to come to us.
When we enter into a room of people we don’t know we wait for them to introduce themselves. At church we wait for others to pray first, serve first, and reach out to us first. Come to me, we say to ourselves, and then maybe I’ll reach out to you.
And this is never the answer.
The answer is seen in the life of Christ, who was sent to us to serve and give Himself up, as a ransom for many. He took a step toward us. Even in the rejection He received from His closest confidants, and the crowd, Jesus continually pursued relationship with others while inching closer to His death.
Jesus sought after something few of us have the guts to pursue.
(Image: Amy and Al White)