“Oh, the comfort — the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person — having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.” Dinah Maria Mulock Craik, A Life for a Life
I think we all long to have the kind of friend that you feel safe enough to just talk…completely comfortable. There’s not measuring of what to say or how to say it; you just be yourself and speak honestly! Then, to have a friend that knows you well enough to listen and then to help you see you, to keep what’s worth keeping and let the rest be blown away. I want a friend like that, don’t you?
The truth is you and I don’t play well with others. So much of the Bible is…like, “Children…can we get along! Let’s not hate okay, don’t betray each other, be kind, don’t judge, stop biting.” That’s no joke.
“But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”
That’s in the Bible. Apparently in Galatia they were biting each other. He says, “Watch out.” “hide your kids, hide your wife. People bite!” That should be a t-shirt!
There are fifty-nine passages that teach us how to treat one another.
Encourage one another, greet one another, helping, serving, making peace with one another, loving, forgiving, speaking the truth to one another. Every one of those has a ton of passages that support that thought. Do you know why the Bible covers those passages? Because God has always wanted us to love each other well.
We’re hard wired by God to depend on others.
You’ll never hear a little kid say, “I just really want to be a recluse when I grow up.” NO, we want to play with our friends, to love and be loved, right? For me, it was riding bikes and making jumps, playing with Star Wars figures, playing endless hours of Nintendo.
But somewhere along the way, we get hurt and betrayed. Probably because you played a game of dodge ball
Over time, the people around us bite; they peg you with a ball to the face, and we start to lose trust, so we put up walls and barricade ourselves. We become jaded and choose apathy! Here’s what apathy says, “I don’t even care” or “It doesn’t matter.” But we do care; it’s just a front. Do you say things like that?
Sometimes we aren’t even aware that we are making these changes.
We subconsciously say, “I’d rather be alone than allow people to hurt me.” We’re just trying to turn the switch off to our feelings and seek self-protection.
We convince ourselves that, “It’s easier this way.”
Apathetic thinking says, “I’d rather push people away than fix what’s been broken” or “I’d rather choose isolation than belonging.”
BUT, it doesn’t work! It’s a lie. We all need to belong!
This is a real problem. Fifty percent of Americans say they’re lonely. We’ve got to realize that we desperately need each other. We depend on each other.
Let’s not choose disconnection. That just opens us up for all kinds of other problems. There are lots of ways that we disconnect:
We stonewall. Our attitude and our countenance communicate our disinterest.
We become critical of the people around us.
We stop communicating with the people we love the most.
We disconnect by losing interest at work.
We are too busy to put our kids to bed.
We watch Netflix rather than talk to our spouse.
People don’t just hurt you, they also heal you.
That’s where the church comes in. The love of God can change everything. That’s where we get our sense of belonging. Belonging is beautiful when it’s done right. Its an ancient practice in the church, and we have lost the art of it. Our worldview is inherited from our culture, and western minds teach individualism over community. But throughout history identity was always found in and through our community. People were known by “we,” not “me.” People’s individuality wasn’t really even considered; that was secondary. In fact, the “you” in Scripture is often plural, but somehow, we interpret it as singular.
1 Corinthians 6:19:
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
We all contribute to the body of Christ that is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit operates in, around, and through the body of Christ. The Spirit of God connects us like glue to one another as many parts that are unified into one.
Connection is Dependency! And if I’m honest with you, that makes me uncomfortable. We need Jesus and each other.
· Fight apathy.
· Study scriptures with other people.
· Take a risk by being authentic.
· Let’s stop stonewalling and work towards open and honest communication.
· Let’s be unified and treat others as more important than ourselves.