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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Does the Gospel Work?

In the past 6 months, I feel like I have been waking up to seeing God’s truth in Scripture about His vision of Christian community. In many ways, I feel like I have been living with a false sense of community. Some of the relationships I thought were the most important in my life have turned out to be more superficial than I thought. I have looked back on my own treatment of friendships, and realize I have been reluctant to go to deep places, reluctant to reveal my heart and my mess, reluctant to pursue friends when things got awkward or difficult, reluctant to go through the inconvenience of re-ordering my life to make room for real friendship, and generally terrible about remaining in good contact with people who mean a lot to me. I also have felt the sting of feeling abandoned, ignored, misunderstood, cut off, and feeling like a source of shame by people whom I had considered to be my community.

Through Scripture, prayer, deep conversations with Kristian and other friends, and awesome teaching from our church (Grace Fellowship Puget Sound), I am realizing that real community is more than belonging to a common club, sharing similar beliefs, doing things together, or sharing pieces of our heart. It is easy to be in relationship with people when we always agree on the big things, or when we don’t allow them to see our sin and struggles, or when they have never hurt us. What happens when we disagree? What happens when our brother sees our sin? What happens when we see our brother’s sin? What happens when we are hurt or mistreated? What happens when we hurt and mistreat others?

In short, does the gospel work?
(to be continued)
P.S. If anyone else is thinking about these things or asking the same questions, I'd love to hear your thoughts, questions, comments, etc. in the comments section.


Abbey said...

I think the thing that has stood out to me while we've been learning/growing through the time of discovering what "true" community means is my realization of how ego-centric/selfish I am with this... Not only in who I choose to be in community with, but also how much time/effort/discomfort I devote/allow in that. It is also so humbling to know that it's, well, a community effort to develop/maintain this closeness - so as one who is in the middle of being a homebody and social butterfly, I have to accept when people don't pursue me or respond when I pursue them. A messy business being human in the mystery of the Body of Christ, but it's the adventure He's called us to...

Heather said...

These are all issues that I am also learning about and starting to reflect on. I feel that up to this point in my life, community has been all about convenience for me and those around me. And that is not it at all, but getting to the heart of what it is and what it requires of me is a work in progress. The glimpse of what true community can be is so intoxicating to me now that it is exciting to be pursuing. It is especially exciting that as a "church body" we are learning it together.

The Pichura Family said...

Wow, Bina! You hit the nail on the head...both in this post and in the one above it! Thanks so much for your honesty and transparency. I have often thought along the same lines as you and you did a beautiful job putting it into words!
We had a guest speaker at our church a couple of weeks ago who spoke on Rahab and one thing he said was that everywhere in the Bible that Rahab's name is listed, it's always with the description "the prostitute". Not so that she is constantly demeaned but so that the grace and power of Christ in changing her life could be more clearly seen and HE would get the glory in the end.
I have been thinking that that needs to be true of us too! Not that we go around "airing" our sin for all to see...but that we do live transparently so that others will keep seeing that there is nothing special about us...we really are wretched sinners...but the Christ in us...that's a whole other story!!! He is what makes us beautiful!!!