I was encouraged to read a book over the summer: Boundaries in Dating. I have to admit, I was reluctant to start a book about dating. Not necessarily because I think I had all of it under control (which I obviously do not), but because of my pride and stubborn attitude, I did not want to be told how or who to date. I’m hard-headed like that.
When it comes down to it, I have to admit that the book really encouraged me. It was not the most intellectual or intriguing read, but it exposed some important, simple observations that you may know from dating but have a hard time explaining. I found myself at this point many times while reading. I would catch myself internally nodding along in agreement and reflecting on the relationships that echoed the areas discussed.
There was one reoccurring theme that seemed to hit home the most. It is something that is not subject to just the dating scene but essential for every area of life.
The authors referred to it as a support group; a group of people you could be vulnerable with who had enough trust and respect to confront you about bad, reoccurring patterns and hold you accountable for your positive changes.
While it is such a simple concept in theory, it is more difficult in practice. Opening up and sharing the deepest, darkest parts of our nature can be the most terrifying experience a human being could ever do. It requires unparalleled transparency and trust. Something culture has swept under the carpet and labeled as a weakness in this generation.
I realized that this community group, core group, support group, small group, etc. is something that is not only necessary for every day life, but they are vital for every Christian.
While this seems like common sense, the majority of Christianity today attends semi-regularly on Sunday mornings and never miss Christmas or Easter. A small percentage actually takes the time and effort to invest in others as well as be poured into.
The Western mindset has bred a sense of rugged, individualism into the heart of americanChristianity. We – as a nation – have been known for such an intense individuality. The mantras of “the middle-class working man” or “self-made millionaire” only inflate our egos to the point that we think we are Superman. Unfortunately, this mindset has invaded our faith as well.
Yes, there is a strict personal level to Christianity. You are not responsible for any one persons’ salvation other than yourself. Jesus came to save the world, but it has to be a personal decision. No one can make it for you.
But once that decision is made, you are welcomed into a family that is bigger and older than any one person in it. You do not have to continue the walk alone. In fact, it is imperative that you walk with others on this journey.
Look at the example set by Jesus. He chose twelve disciples to teach, walk, live, and do life with him during his three year ministry. He sent those twelve off to do miracles in pairs – not as individuals. Jesus chose three of them to be in His inmost circle (support group). Jesus lived the model by which we are to live. He lived it in community, so why do we not?