It doesn’t take so long for one to realize how broken people are. It doesn’t take so long for one to realize how broken they themselves are. Indeed we all are broken, and relationships are a proof of that. Today most people try by all means to stay away from relationships. In “acceptable” terms we find ways to isolate ourselves. We might say we are “busy,” or use the personality card (I am an introvert). We have even invented ways to isolate in community: how often do we find ourselves around community yet everyone is bowed down indulging themselves in gadgets? (I am actually introvert, though most people, especially those close to me would think otherwise). The point I’m trying to put across is that our brokenness and that of others around us are amplified the most in the context of relationships, and because we fear being known in our brokenness, and being hurt by other people’s brokenness, we try our best by all means to stay away. We settle for way much less than what we were created for.
Made for Community
God created us as creatures with deep longings for community. He made us in His very own image —God who has eternally existed in community of Father, Son, and Spirit. This communion which God has eternally enjoyed is what He created man to enjoy. In the garden, man enjoyed God’s company and fellowship. This not being enough, for it was not good for man to be alone, God made woman to be a companion of man with whom man would experience somewhat of what the triune God enjoyed among the God-head. Man and woman not only enjoyed the company of the triune God, but ecstatically enjoyed each other’s company in ways that we will never in this fallen and broken world. God intended for the community of man to grow through procreation. This happened but not in the initial state of perfect community, for sin invaded man’s world.
The Source of our brokenness
Man was not always broken, and for those who find redemption, we are promised that we will not remain forever broken. Our brokenness resulted from sin. The difficulties we encounter in our relationships can simply be explained by sin. Though simply explained, we all know how complex our difficulties are. They drain every bit of strength, and at times we come to that place of “enough is enough.” We lose hope with others just as much as at times we do so with ourselves. Sin has radically broken us. It has not only made a separation between man and God, but also between man and man, and even so, between man and himself. We get frustrated with ourselves as much as we do with others, don’t we? Sin has ripped us off everything good!
Sin has radically broken us. It has not only made a separation between man and God, but also between man and man, and even so, between man and himself.
Hope for our brokenness
The good news is that we are not left hopeless. God has so worked redemption, indeed the glorious redemption for broken men and women like you and I. The simple solution to our brokenness is the gospel. The gospel is sufficient to deal with the complexities of the difficulties resulted by sin. Not only does the gospel sufficiently reconcile us to God, but it also reconciles us one to another. The gospel assures us that our standing with God is eternally secured! The separation that sin brought about, the guilt and shame that sin resulted in, is eternally dealt with once and for all in the gospel. Our worst imaginable brokenness is completely reversed and we are made whole in and through the gospel! There is hope for us just as much as there is for those we are in community with.
The Hope for meaningful community
The hope for meaningful community is the gospel, simply that Christ died for our sins and rose for our justification. In Christ we find forgiveness for sin! All of our sin. It is this very gospel when faithfully applied that meaningful community happens. We no longer have to fear knowing others and being known by them. We are reminded, and remind one another that we are fully accepted by God, indeed, God is at work in us and in others (in the community of faith) conforming us into the image of His Son! His ongoing work will culminate in a sinless glorious state. It is this hope that frees us to be vulnerable and invite others into our lives. It is this very hope that frees us to be willing to be involved in other people’s lives, no matter how messy it gets. This hope redeems our view of community, for it gives us a glimpse of what kind of community we are called to be, and equips us to work towards such. The gospel redeems our relationships by first redeeming us.
The gospel redeems our relationships by first redeeming us.
Applying the Gospel
We all have felt the weight of brokenness haven’t we? Our relationships are not always perfectly flawless. We’ve had issues, lots of issues. Yet the gospel reminds us that even in the midst of such, God is for us, and we are His. Our weaknesses are accounted for by the gospel, and the strength that we need to grow out of our weaknesses is sufficiently provided for in the gospel. Indeed we are a forgiven people, reconciled to God! It is not only true for us, but also for those who are truly in Christ. We apply the gospel by remembering what has been accomplished through the gospel and holding fast to it. And we invite others to do the same. The fears we have for rejection are decisively dealt with in the gospel, for through the gospel, we are fully accepted by God! All of the hurt that we have experienced, the gospel reminds us that there is one who bore way much more than we could ever imagine, and it is He to whom we are united —He living in us and through us, and so, we can bear with, and forgive those who hurt us. It is not easy, but the gospel is sufficient! The Holy Spirit applies the gospel so that it radically yet gradually transforms us to live such lives through which Christ is exulted in and through us!
Article by Emmanuel Njoroge.