Living in community is one of the most challenging trials I have ever faced, but, as can be seen in this picture, one of the most rewarding. God, eternally existing in Three Persons, is relationship. God is a God of relationship. God wraps Himself in light, completely exposed and free. He wired us to live in the same way.
Yes, God created us in His image. He made us to live in relationship with others. He made us to wrap ourselves in light and integrity. He tells us that “a man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.” Proverbs 18:1 (NKJV). Nevertheless, we find ourselves hiding our hearts and our lives at every turn.
God created us to thrive in relationship. Separating ourselves we find ourselves out of the limelight of friends and family and in a place where sin and darkness can creep in. Is it easy to be exposed? Absolutely not. It isn’t easy to let people see you react to your child’s disobedience. It isn’t easy to love someone when they take 30 minutes in the only bathroom shared by a dozen people. It isn’t easy to be loved when you feel like punching the wall. And not everyone cooks like Mom. But God uses our heart’s exposure to heal us in the light of His love.
I know not everyone lives in community. In fact, it is the exception in America. But the family of God needs to begin to open up their homes and lives to one another more and more. The early church gathered in fellowship daily. Jesus and His disciples lived together throughout Jesus’ ministry. Can’t we begin to make changes in our lives to spend more time together to the glory of His Name?
We call ourselves brothers and sisters in Christ but we pass one another quickly during a few minutes on Sundays and are together while we sit quietly and watch someone on a podium give a speech/preach. We have on our best clothes and plastered smiles even though we were fighting with our wives/husbands/kids the moments before on the way to church. We’ve become experts at faking “having it together” for the few seconds we interact with any individual in the course of our day.
I’ve yet to hear about a suicide where others who “knew” the person would say “I knew this was coming.” Instead, the common response is “I had no idea they were so depressed.” “They seemed to have it all together.” Meanwhile, a life is ended tragically because of the isolation we all participate in. It’s easier not to know or to let anyone know.
Why do we continue to hide who we really are? No one likes a fake and we all hate being a fake. What do we have to be scared of? We are scared of being alone, but we continue to live in loneliness. We are human, desperately dependent on God’s love and grace and created to enjoy His fellowship and the fellowship of our brothers and sisters. When we demonstrate the joy of relationship by living for relationships we do our job as Ambassadors of Christ, demonstrating to a lost and dying world their need for a Savior – their need for God’s love and grace – their need for reconciliation with their Creator. It is through our love for one another that people see God’s love and can learn Who God Is. John 13:35; John 17.