What began as a typical day in our life together ended up in frustration. Each person in our shared community had intentions to help, but the situation took a turn for the worse. Retrospect provides a textbook example of a simple misunderstanding. One person makes a passing comment that is misinterpreted by others and creates an awkward situation. Some in the group align themselves in one camp and others choose to ignore the comment or dismiss the person. This is further proof that community is messy.
Does it have to be this way? Do we really have to put up with the hassles of relationship? Must we yet again agree to disagree instead of finding some common ground? The answer, of course, is yes!
Community is messy!
This is nothing new to anyone. It has been this way and will continue to be this way.
There is a counterpoint to this “community is messy” conundrum. As we grow closer to God, He burns away our undeveloped ways of relating. In the wake, we discover wisdom. And, this wisdom over time brings maturity.
The goal of relationship is to truly know someone and be truly known by them. This is what God wants from us too! The closer we are to Him, the less we depend upon our own way of thinking. Relinquishing control of our agenda becomes an easier choice to make. Walking with God in this manor is admittedly intimating. It is not the same as trusting people in this type of relationship. God is completely trustworthy. Life with Him can also get messy. He can ask us to do some strange things!
For example, He may ask us to move over a thousand miles away with no job! Or stop looking for an avenue to express your calling while He further develops your character. He can ask you to walk through doors to that church or group after it has blown up in your face. He can even ask you to share vulnerably in a setting that does not scream for it on the surface.
God’s point in events like these, which to our human eye may seem counter-intuitive, serve a greater purpose. Usually, it is to develop us in an area where we are weak. Or, it could be to further an area where we already are strong.
If the situation described in the first paragraph were to take place five years from now with the same group of people, I believe God would develop us all to handle it in a way that glorifies Him more than it was originally done. Furthermore, I feel we would even find a new level of group intimacy.
It certainly was not time or effort wasted – all of us learned something through the situation. Next time we will certainly respond differently. Perhaps “next time” will come sooner than later.
How many of you can relate to a situation like this one? How did you respond? What did you do well? How could you have responded differently? We’d love to hear from you!
If you have any concerns, please share them with us. We’d like to be there for and with you.
Jake and Shannon