When Community Hurts.

I used to love this place.  

I used to love this little plot of land out in the middle of nowhere.  It's where I met Jesus, where the roots of my faith grew deep.  It's where I learned that hot cocoa, strawberry jam, and time spent with a mentor is more beneficial than any piano lesson I'll ever take.  It's where I found my heart for serving others.  

It felt like my heart would beat in rhythm to the wind that coursed through the corn stalks.  I spent more time here than at my own home and I liked it that way.  When one of my most treasured friendships began to fall apart, I threw myself into this place, into these people.  This was family.  This was home.

And then it wasn't.

Suddenly, this place where I thought I would always feel welcomed didn't seem like home anymore.  The same people who, for years, had hugged me and loved me and had spent countless I-love-you's on me could no longer sit next to me on Sunday mornings.  And it hurt.

Let's just be real honest for a moment: the Church isn't perfect.  She's filled with imperfect people who are all just trying to get it right and sometimes we don't get it right.  Sometimes we get it wrong.  So, so wrong.  And in the process of figuring things out, we can hurt people or we can be hurt by people.  We can be tempted to quit, to give up on church, to give up on community.

Can I just encourage you today, friend?  From one wounded-by-community individual to another, can I just say that it's still worth it?  Oh, I know it doesn't seem that way right now.  I know your heart is hurting, or you're so angry you could explode, or you're too numb to feel anything other than shock.  

But when the pain and anger and confusion subside, you'll find beauty in community again.  You'll ache to grow with other people, among other people.  You'll long for fellowship that feels like it's molding and shaping you into a better person, like that iron sharpening iron that the Bible talks about.  You'll walk into a group of people, or onto a plot of land out in the middle of nowhere, and your heart will beat in rhythm with the Father's there.

Because community can hurt, but it can also heal.  May we find hope in that. 

Day Seven.
You can find the rest of the series here.       

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