The more I learn about community, the more I realize that we have a daunting task ahead of us if we are to make the necessary changes in our churches. I believe we are starved in our churches for true community. We have a systematic approach for everything!
Could it be that we as a body are putting more effort into our systems and forsaking the community to which we are called? Let me explain. I agree that the church has purposes, but how many of you think that the early church sat down and said, "Man guys, we have got to work on these purposes today or we will never be effective"? No! They just lived every day and the purposes, although not planned, flowed out of their lives. You see, what the spirit used to do, we have now replaced with programs and strategies. We as a church desperately need to stop doing and doing, and let Him flow through us!
Let me dive further into community and one of its greatest issues, the hypocrite. The whole world is sick of hypocrites, right? Even we as Christians cant stand the thought of spending time with someone who is hypocritical. I have been struggling with my own hypocrisy lately, and it has led me to wonder about the cause of hypocrisy in our lives and in our churches. I truly do believe that hypocrisy is caused by a lack of community.
In James 5:16 we read, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed..." Healed? I thought only confession to Christ brought true healing and change. Why would James state that confession to one another would bring healing? In Galatians 6:2 it tells us to bear one another"s burdens.
Could it be that Christ had community in mind all along? This is drastically different from what we see in our churches today. In true community confession to one another brings change! We are supposed to walk with one another, not forsake each other in acts of religious piety.
In our so called "righteousness" we have taken away the freedom to be honest about our struggles. We always condemn the actions of the Pharisees, but take a look at our similarities! We condemn the sinner but miss the sin in our own lives! Amazing! In Matthew 7:3-5, Jesus tells us to get the log out of our own eye before we try to get the speck out of our brothers eye. What we have is a vision problem! I do not know about you, but when I get something in my eye all I want to do is get it out! Have we gotten used to the pain in our eye? Yes, we have become accustomed to the sin in our lives; therefore we do not remove it. We ignore it! In 1 John 1:8 it says, "If you claim to be without sin, you deceive yourself and the truth is not in you." We have become churches and people who are deceived about our own depravity. We are not only deceived, but we lie according to 1 John. We pretend to have it all together when in reality we stink at life just like everyone else. The most disturbing thing is that we promote ourselves and our churches as "people who care", but in reality we are judgmental and really do not care.
My dream is to be in a community that welcomes the alcoholic, drug abuser and the homosexual. I love the fact that Jesus never categorized sin. He saw it all the same! From pride to homosexuality there was no difference. We promote the idea that there is sin, but then there are those sins. I can only imagine what would happen in a church if a Christian who was struggling with homosexuality stood up and asked for help. A Christian who knew nothing of the love of Christ and who had recently arrived would probably try to lead him down the Romans road rather than accept his confession and pray for him like James suggested.
We all have our issues, but because of our lack of community no one talks about it. This is why the world and younger generations of Christians hate church. Church is not community anymore! Its a masquerade and we are competing for who has the prettiest mask! Let us strip ourselves of the costumes which we are hiding behind and reveal our true selves! If we want to reach a world that longs for realness and hates plastic people then we have to bring our issues to one another and build community. Only then will we be healed of the sin that controls our life. Only then will we have something the world will desire!