What does healthy biblical community look like and are we experiencing it?
I’ve been pondering these questions as I am preparing to speak on the topic of community at a women’s retreat this weekend. God designed us for community, not to live in isolation from one another. But do we experience community in the way God wants us to?
Several years ago, Dr. Sue Edwards spoke on community at our women’s retreat and shared with us eight roadblocks to building community. Are any of these roadblocks a community buster for you?
- Anger – I’m ticked off. I don’t want to be around people.
- Hurt – I’ve been hurt. I don’t want to be around people and let my guard down because they may hurt me again.
- Exhaustion – I’m worn out. I don’t have the energy to spend with people. I need to rest.
- “Workaholism” – I like being busy and working hard. I don’t have time for people because my work consumes my life.
- Laziness – I’d rather stay home and watch TV or sleep or get on the computer.
- Fear – I’m afraid if people get to know me, they won’t like me or accept me once they see what I’m really like. It’s just better to keep my guard up and not open up to anyone.
- Selfishness – I’m protective of my time and desires. I need to meet my needs before I look at anyone else’s.
- Comparison, envy, jealousy – She’s prettier than I am. I’m not as bad as she is. I want what she has.
To be honest, I struggle with some of these roadblocks. But I know I need Christian community. So what is the solution to overcoming these community busters?
I think Nancy Leigh DeMoss summed it up well in her devotional book, The Quiet Place. She wrote in her entry for November 2:
“Brokenness is God’s prescription for nearly every condition that ails human hearts and lives, because pride in one form or another is almost always at the root of our most difficult issues – fear, sinful bondages, fragmented relationships, communication barriers, generation gaps, unresolved conflicts, guilt, shame, self-absorption, addictions, hypocrisy, even insecurities, and excessive shyness… You may be hiding behind their high, thick walls, not wanting to relinquish control or admit weakness. But every one of those walls can crumble through genuine brokenness and humility.”
The solution is genuine brokenness and humility. We have to acknowledge and deal with pride and self-sufficiency in our lives. And as we humble ourselves and allow ourselves to be broken, it opens the door for authentic community to take place. I want authentic community, but I have to be willing to overcome these community busters.
What would you add to the list of roadblocks to building community?