Wednesday, 23 September 2009
by Samantha Kreiger
I think for quite a while the church has been a place where far too many people have been afraid to expose their weaknesses, struggles, and sins for fear of embarrassment, criticism, and all out rejection from other believers, simply because they’ve experienced it and want nothing to do with it. I don't blame them. The result has been that we continue to live our lives in isolation. We become our own island, thinking this is the best way to keep from being wounded and hurt. We never get past those struggles, don’t give ourselves fully to other people and we’re never truly known by anyone.
In the past few years, however, we’ve seen a tiny shift away from this, where more people are embracing “authentic community” and are learning to live lives “bare naked” in front of each other. In such communities, sins are confessed, prayer is genuinely happening, and healing and restoration is taking place (James 5:16), so that, ultimately, God is glorified in their lives.
It’s because of the healing that God wants to give us that we’re called to live authentically. I’ve experienced this in my community group at Watermark that consists of young married couples. We’ve been doing life together for over two years now. One day I was challenged and approached by a woman named Julia who saw something in my attitude towards my husband. My behavior was wrong and she let me know about it in love. I, however, thought I could hide it. It hurt so bad to hear -- I had a lot of pride -- but it was exactly what I needed. Her authenticity with me helped cover a multitude of other problems.
Through a process, I’m learning that I’ll never become the person God wants me to be by hiding behind my struggles and not bringing them to light. I’ll never know just how “bad” my sin is when it’s not confessed, owned up to and measured with God’s standard. I’ll never be able to move forward or be victorious without acknowledging it and asking for help and accountability from other people.
How has living in authentic community with others brought freedom in your relationship with Christ and with others? Do you think the church has really missed the mark when it comes to embracing people where they are?