Researcher Brené Brown says, “Shame is the fear of disconnection. Is there something about me that if other people see or know it, that I won’t be worthy of connection?… Excruciating vulnerability undermines shame. In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen. Really seen.”*
One of the great lies of the enemy, from the beginning, has been “I’m shameful.” His tactics to manipulate us to work evil and then blame us for what he incited us to do is as old as the human race itself.
If Brené Brown is right, then at least one of the enemy’s reasons for this is to create disconnection among humanity. To break us up, so to speak.
I absolutely believe she’s onto something.
See, if humanity comes together as the new-human-race of Christ, committing anarchy against the darkness, revolution will occur. The enemy will be overthrown. In fact, there is a Day this will indeed happen in totality (see Rev. 19-22).
Until then, the best way for the enemy to have the most power on the earth (because on the cross, Christ made possible for people to begin living as the new-human race), is to keep people apart, disconnected, un-vulnerable, closed-off, shy, and ashamed.
Friends, we must not believe any lie that connotes “I don’t need community.” For it will be in community we’ll have the most power over the enemy, the most victory in this dark land, and the most joyful existence on this earth.
In fact, community is so essential for Christianity that Paul tells us:
…let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together… but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Heb. 10:24-25)
COMMUNITY IS NECESSARY FOR…
…Truth Over Lies
The thing is, we absolutely need each other to maintain our freedom and fruitfulness in Christ. On our own, it is extremely difficult to keep a perfect gauge on the truth. The nature of deception is that we don’t realize we’re being lied to. But If we can live transparently together, we can gently help each other remain in the truth.
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. (Eph. 4:25)
Brethren, if even a man be taken in some fault, [you] who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of meekness… (Gal. 6:1)
…Love Over Longing
The Christian life is a call to total freedom! In every area of our being. But this kind of freedom necessitates total vulnerability with others. The reason we can be totally vulnerable with others is because we did not originate the lies we believed. We get to disconnect ourselves as the source of our sin. When we’re honest about even our deepest sins, we are outing the enemy, not ourselves. And in this tender vulnerability, we are no longer left longing for connection, intimacy, and deep love. Instead, we’re seen, known, accepted, loved, find belonging, safety, and increasingly, the joy of freedom.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.(James 5:16)
…Faith Over Fear
This may be among my favorite reasons for community. I have found no greater catalyst for highly fruitful living than community. Contrarily, I see that when I have been distanced from deep community, my fruitfulness significantly eases. I bring fruitfulness up because the way of fruit-bearing is the way of faith. Community increases our faith because when we see other’s risking and trusting the guidance of Jesus within them—and then see his AMAZING faithfulness/provision/power toward them—we dare to believe he’ll be just as faithful to us. Their faith stirs up our faith!
Moreover, seeing others experience Christ bear fruit through them stirs up longing and determination to not miss this very thing ourselves. There truly is no greater catalyst in our lives for trusting (and not doubting) Jesus’s faithfulness than regularly hearing testimony of believers’ fruitful exploits!
…and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds… (Heb. 10:24)
We must be committed to making room for each other to be totally vulnerable. This means vulnerability is a two-way street. If one gets to be vulnerable, but the other doesn’t, community and relationship has not happened.
Total vulnerability also means time must be deliberately set aside for relationship. Time is a requirement for being deeply known.
If sustained freedom over slavery is going to occur in our lives upon Planet Earth, we must maintain commitment to life in deep community. This must be a non-negotiable to us.
We must take time for the New Testament practice of confession, remembering we have no reason for shame. We must cease believing that we’re the source of our sin! We must also cease believing others are the source of their sin! In this way, we’ll be able to love each other unconditionally, help each other overcome slavery, and continue in faith and fruitfulness!
Let us hold fast the confession of the hope unwavering, (for he [is] faithful who has promised;) and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Heb. 10:24-25, Darby)
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + +
If you are interested in receiving this series straight to your inbox, sign up for Katie’s emails here. She is presently preparing a devotional ebook for sale on Amazon. Everyone who joins her email list will receive a free copy when it is released!
*Bréne Brown quoted here.