Being a part of an authentic community is work. Live around me for a couple of days, and you will see inconsistencies in my walk. All of us have idiosyncrasies and things that are unique or peculiar depending how you look at it.
There is a powerful Biblical passage located in Colossians 3 that pictures what community looks like, 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
- Very quickly this passage gets to the core at what generates and orchestrates authentic community…“as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.” We are loved sacrificially by God. Community starts always with foundation of agape love.
- Then, Paul tells us to bear with each other. It is the picture of us being a load bearing wall for someone else so that their hurtful situation does not collapse on them. For whatever reason, they are under the pile and they can’t get out. You bear the burden for them. A great picture of this is that Good Samaritan in Luke 10:33-35, 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ The Good Samaritan was a load bearing wall for this Jewish man.
- Paul’s third verb used was “forgive.” “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” The cross is at the very center of who we are as believers. There is no viable Christian community without forgiveness.
Are you willing become a part of an authentic community? You will see inconsistencies and experience frustration. However, you will see and experience agape love in action. When you act as a load bearing wall from someone else and do it compassionately, kindly, humbly, gently and patiently, it is an experience of Jesus that you will never forget. In those moments, you were Jesus to others. Find a community of people and agape love the heck out of each other!