Thursday, 17 December 2015

True community at Christmas time

One of the things that helps make up a Christian community are the misfits, the people who don’t quite fit in community. If everyone fit perfectly, we would have a jigsaw puzzle of a twee painting much like a picturesque National Trust postcard and not a gathering of real people. Real community has real problems.

But there is a difference between Christians who are kind of angular, on the one hand, and those who live in such a way to destroy community on the other. The former sort of problem is the kind of thing that love is designed to cover a multitude of, and can frequently do so without even thinking. But the latter is the sort of thing that every healthy community must view with a divinely-given hostility.

What sorts of things are found in the latter category? The Apostle Paul gives us these examples: “sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness and orgies.” He then adds this warning: “Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:20-21.

Of course this is not saying that such sins cannot be forgiven. Christ came to die for our sin – all sin. However to indulge in the evils listed above is one sure way to destroy good fellowship and could eventually result in you missing out on eternal life. What then is the solution? It is to be totally honest with regard to our sin. Dishonesty is in fact one of the key ways that community and fellowship is destroyed and which also leads to our being cut off from God. One important way then to be preparing for Christmas is by being truly honest with yourself and if there is anything evil in your life to seek the LORD in repentance and turn to Him in faith so that you’re in true fellowship with Him and consequently in good fellowship with each other.

I began by saying that misfits must be present for true community to exist. But let us also never forget that, in various ways, and in various settings, all of us are misfits. True community lets love cover it, but all of us must do the covering, and all of us have things that must be covered. Christ, remember came for misfits and heaven, after all, will be filled with people who used to be misfits. As Jesus puts it: “I came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:23). That indeed is the reason for the season.

Parish magazine article for the 3rd week in Advent 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment