Every Sunday I stand before some courageous Christians who get what the Bible says about our desperate need for one another. They understand our inability to live the Christian life alone. Struggling forward locking arms, they grasp the universal teaching of Christ and the Apostles that we must learn not only to trust God with the truth about our lives, but we must also trust one another with the truth about our lives. These are friends who are living as if what the Bible says about community is true.
Sadly, tragically, there are believers choosing not to worship with us who are proving that they do not believe what the Bible says about community is true. Maybe someone hurt their feelings. Maybe they didn’t get their way. Maybe they’re waiting until they “get their Christian life together.” Maybe they have a secret.
I would be the last pastor to tell them they need to come to church to keep our numbers up.
But I do beg them to come to church because they need us and we need them.
Especially during times of suffering.
The Apostle Peter connects the suffering of our lives to our need for community in 1 Peter 4:7-11 by exposing the mistaken assumption those who decide to “go it alone” are making when they run from church: Time is short!
“The end of all things is at hand—gather in groups, pray hard, and love well!”
Christians who say they don’t need one another are acting as if we have forever to sort out our little feelings or hide our big secrets.
Even if you don’t agree with me that Jesus could show up any day for His church to take them to heaven, you have to admit that your days are numbered. And speaking for all of us who have heard the doctor say, “It’s cancer,” I promise you that you don’t have as many days as you think.
Stop wasting your time hiding and pouting. Find a healthy church and throw in, for better or worse. Give and receive love by praying hard for one another and loving well.
You’re going to suffer. There’s no way around it.
You can either suffer alone or with friends in the messy glory of community.
Question: Why do you think a lot of Christians choose to hide their suffering from the church and their friends?