Our journey is continuing on this time I will deal with only one step, it’s so important in a disconnected society, a society that is not aware of anyone else but of self, that this step be prayed and worked through, enjoy considering. To be a people of love and display to our world people being TOGETHER
Step Seven COMMUNITY LIVING
I don’t know whether it was my upbringing as a child in the Welsh Valleys, where lives were thrown in on each other and things were shared or what, but I have never found community living a problem, and long to see it at every level. I am not talking about a commune but a community where no one has need and each person is considered and looked after, where people are aware of others around them rather than just self.
I have been able to adapt easily to living with a crowd as long as there has been some place – all I’ve needed was a bedroom – to pull aside and be alone with God for a time. Apart from that, the difference of temperaments and personality were no great issues for me.
Here are some of the things I have learned in community with others:
1. Don’t take things too seriously. It is amazing how we can make mountains out of mole hills, and little issues assume great importance. This is where many relationships have foundered and fellowship been broken. Many things are best over-looked and forgotten by the immediate release of forgiveness and love at the time.
2. People respond to praise. Don’t be afraid to praise others. This acknowledges, honours’, and builds men up. Make room in your heart for appreciation of others.
3. Everybody loves to be loved and so the time taken, word spoken, gesture made, effectively communicates our appreciation and love for people,
4. Make room for others. Don’t look for ways to promote yourself by seeking prominence. Make room for other people respond to those who have made room for them. Give them scope in your life, fellowship, responsibilities. Let them try things out for themselves, and ‘have a go’.
5. Keep short accounts. If there is a breakdown of fellowship deal with it quickly – Get rid of it before it widens. It is the accumulation of small things that creates the big problems. Just as it is the silt that comes down with the river that forms the mud bank that eventually holds the waters back.
6 – Don’t be afraid to confront. Don’t look for confrontation, but neither should you run from it where it is necessary for the saving of the person or situation. Paul disliked confrontation but was not afraid to stand up to Peter when a fundamental issue of the gospel was at stake. It is better to be wounded by your friends than destroyed by your enemies.
7. Grace and faith. Serve up, in every relationship with people, great dollops of grace and faith. These are the twins of all progress and achievement in relationships.
8. Be loyal to men and women and people will be loyal to you – the end time will be characterized by this breaking down (2 Tim.3:4) amongst other things. All the more reason to shine as a light in a dark place in respect to keeping covenant.
9. Love the brethren. By this I mean demonstrably so. Let your feelings become tangible in this respect.
10. Serve one another. Do little things – learn to hump the tables around. Learn to look after each others needs, be a servant and in this way you encourage others to serve, particularly be a Joshua to a Moses somewhere.
These principles hold good as strengthening bonds to secure harmony inside the relationships of the wider community of the church. It would be wonderful if our Christian experience was only a series of positive virtues. Unfortunately I have been both a victim and perpetrator of some negative issues also.