This quote you see here epitomizes the power of authentic community. What I am seeing in our society and in my personal experience is tragic. I see a mindset that would rather try to navigate life alone than be connected with other human beings. I also see a mindset that looks at humans as either a means to an end or as their worst enemy no matter what. I am convinced that one of the keys to our society being healthy is embracing the power of community. Life was never meant to be lived in isolation. As it has been said many times, we were created for relationships. As a Christian, I do not believe it was ever God’s intent for us to try to live life on our own. One of the purposes, I believe for the church is to be God’s demonstration of His love to one another on earth. Authentic community is one of the biggest arenas for us to share God’s love. So today I’d like to discuss with you all 3 things as it relates to the power of community.
- Authentic community reminds us that we all have struggles. I saw a video a year or so ago that demonstrated the idea that with every person there is a struggle or story associated with them. In the video you would see people from every facet of life with a story above their head. The story could be something such as “cancer patient” or “family member received bad news.” The bottom line of the video is that no matter who we are, we all have a life issue or something going on. No matter what our status is in life we all have struggles. This even includes the celebrities we see daily. Life is difficult for everyone. Some people may think that the people with the most money have the least amount of problems, but history shows that sometimes the people with the most money have the most problems. I believe authentic community keeps us humble to remind us that we are no better than anyone. Authentic community also teaches us to be patient with one another. Life is a battle for all of us and we’re all trying to survive to the best of our ability. Instead of us judging one another in the struggle, how about we offer our hand to help our neighbor through their struggles.
- Authentic community challenges us to be our brother’s/sister’s keeper. As I said in the first point, instead of us judging our neighbors in their struggle, we should offer help whenever possible. There will come a time in ALL of our lives in which we will go through a rough period of our life. During that time, the last thing we’re looking for us someone trying to criticize us unnecessarily. In those periods of time, we’re looking for a helping hand. One of the biggest disadvantages of social media especially for celebrities is that when someone makes a human mistake, a lot of times people put up comments in the story that do nothing but further the person in trouble. Why not in a spirit of correction acknowledge the issue and offer to pray for the person in trouble. We also see this on a personal level. It’s a shame to me that many people will die without experiencing the joy of someone giving them a lift up through assisting however possible. As one of our deacons who passed away a couple of years ago said, the only time you should look down on a person is when you’re trying to help them up. I believe that when we know our brother/sister is in trouble, authentic community challenges us to help them get to where they need to be.
- Authentic community is desperately needed like never before. There are so many people around us who are hurting and going through internal issues. What you may or may not realize is that you can tell who is hurting and who isn’t a lot of times by their attitude. I believe that when certain people have an attitude with you, it’s not necessarily about you but about them. I believe that an oasis of healing is out there and can be found within true community. I encourage all of us to evaluate the people we have in our lives in terms of whether we can see some type of hurt or discouragement in them. We live in a world where people are so skeptical and cynical of one another that trust is becoming an extinct word. Life is not getting any easier and therefore the battles we face are continuing to increase. Too many people are giving up on life because they do not have anybody they can share their struggles with. Too many things hang on the balance for us to dismiss the effectiveness that community can have.
I want to end this post by encouraging all of us not to give up on the beauty and joy of authentic community. The difference between someone giving up and pressing through can be as simple as another human being. What would the world be like if we could give our fellow neighbor an honest answer when asked how we are doing? What would it be like if everyone had someone they could be completely honest and transparent with? Let me stress that I am for being selective about who we share our business with; I’m just stressing that a part of true community is honesty and transparency. Let’s please get back to truly loving and caring for one another. Somebody’s life may depend on it!
1 Corinthians 12:26 ESV “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl2_knlv_xw (video I mentioned earlier about everyone having a story or struggle behind who they are)