In Genesis God stated that it was not good for man to be alone. Although that statement was followed up by God stating and creating a companion for Adam, the seed was planted for what it means to belong to someone and somewhere.
For the last few months God has really been impressing on me the importance of community. As I had begin to reflect on everything that I have experience and witness within a community I am left with one truth. Man was not meant to walk life’s journey alone.
Before I had changed my major in college I was studying Criminal Justice. Recently I had jury duty and it was required that we tour the local county jail. The thing that fascinated me both during my studies of criminal justice, correctional facilities was the exact course, and something the colonel stated while we were wrapping up our tour was that once an inmate is released it is not uncommon to see them return within thirty days. Most of them will tell you that they have no where to go and no one to turn to. He even told us a story of when an inmate was released and not even moments later as he was standing in the lobby getting ready to walk out the door, the individual turned around an assaulted one of the officers. When hey asked him why he had done it he confessed that it was better for him to stay behind bars then to live on the streets again.
The ministry that I chair works with individuals who decide to take steps in becoming sober and those who choose to remain sober by getting connected and involved with like minded people. Because we work with the individuals from beginning, through out and afterwards we see the same pattern. Those who are not connected into a healthy community of people turn back to old habits because they feel like no one believes in them and that they have nowhere or no one to turn to. Unfortunately, this includes the church.
A sad truth
We went to a community event hosted by a local hospital that invited the leadership of local churches to discuss and equipped church leaders and laymen on how to deal with the elderly, those with mental illness and those who battle with various addictions. It broke our hearts to see so many church leaders turn their noses up to the idea of helping addicts. We left there thinking if this is how they feel about the addicts and the ex convicts how do they truly feel about the other broken people. We are all broken in some way shape or form. It is the very reason why we need to hear, know and spread the great news of Christ our savior!
I recently went through a tough time where I literally felt that all of hell was breaking loose in my life at no fault of my own (we must be careful of the pity parties). It was not until half way through it that I had realized that the enemy will use any means to distract us from living for God and giving Him all the glory. I had found myself secluding myself and not talking to anyone because after a while you just get tired of talking. You know? However, I have some really strong friends on Christ who persisted in prayer and would not let me “be alone” with my thoughts and my personal pity party.
It was through this little community of people that help me realize that I was not in this alone. It was through small constant conversation here and there where God spoke to me loudly, reminding me to keep at it. Not to retreat but to advance in intercessory praise and prayer for my family, my friends and any other circle of influence I may have. And to be honest although I did not follow His instructions to the letter, I do believe I came out of it with more of an awareness because of the community of believers that had my back.
We are called to be the church and this does not limit us to a building on Sunday’s and whatever other dates it is that you may attend services. So why are we not doing more of that for the people whose brokenness is physically manifested through their lifestyle? Why do most of us think that freedom and breakthroughs are only for those who follow Christ? How many of us have stopped following (backslid) Christ a time or two because we wanted to do our own thing? I know I have.
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2 NKJV