Pastor’s Corner: “Solo”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT) – 9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
We once were a society that centered around family. Multiple generations often lived together under one roof and when families did live separately, they never moved very far. These days, we are more of an individualistic culture. We rely on ourselves. We live far away from where we were raised. Our connections with other people take place most often in the workplace. But those connections are usually shallow, fickle, and short lived.
In the church, we see this sense of individualism and disconnectedness as well. There are many in churches that are committed, but they are not all in. They aren’t fully known by their community. They don’t rely on the Body when they are struggling or in need. Instead, they wear masks that cover the pain of their lives, pretending that everything’s okay, even though it’s not.
Isolation is the Christian’s silent enemy and the work of satan. The strategy is to get believers divided and disconnected to better be able to disable and destroy them. Offense, pride and shame are often used by the enemy to isolate folks from the Body of Christ. Do not fall for these traps and schemes. If you feel offense, pride or shame starting to pull you away from other believers, this is a sign for you to press into your Christian community more than ever! Allow Holy Spirit to fill your heart with grace, humility and love instead.
But don’t get solitude and silence (two powerful spiritual disciplines) mixed up with isolation. Isolation is pulling away and saying, “I can live out my faith on my own, and I don’t need anyone to help me.” There is pride in isolation. We begin to think we can live our faith through our own power. Once we distance ourselves from those who know us best, small (and large) changes begin taking place in the absence of accountability. Isolation makes people believe that sin can be committed free of consequences. King David held that mindset until the prophet Nathan showed up (2 Samuel 12) and allowed God to uncover and reveal David’s sin. Additionally, isolation makes us think that we are the only people wrestling with a particular sin, problem, difficulty or addiction. We begin to believe that no one else will understand us, so why should we open up and seek help? We think that if we keep a lid on our problems, that we will contain it.
We weren’t created to be independent, autonomous, or self-sufficient. We were made to live in a humble, worshipful, and loving dependency upon God and in a loving and humble interdependency with others. Our lives were designed to be community projects. Yet, the foolishness of sin tells us that we have all that we need within ourselves. So we settle for relationships that never go beneath the casual. We defend ourselves when the people around us point out a weakness or a wrong. We hold our struggles within, not taking advantage of the resources God has given us.
Accountability is a non-negotiable in the Christian life. It stops the sin of isolation. So many people I know have gone down in flames because they did not have someone in their life to hold them accountable. Living the Christian life is a “we” thing not a “me” thing. There is a great African proverb that states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
In His Grace,