Family is community – the value of community

When people hear the word ‘community’, it generally triggers one of two responses.

  • Love it, as I believe in it.
  • Avoid it, as I don’t trust it.

In this article, I hope to show you the restorative power and value of community when we allow ourselves to lean into that space. However, we must first push through some fear barriers to get there.

Psalms 68:6 “God places the lonely in families.”

When I first read this scripture, the thought that popped into my mind was, “if my own family of origin never made me feel like I belonged, why would any other family want me?” Fear is a big stumbling block to allowing ourselves to receive healing. When a person has experienced the pain of rejection, abuse or neglect in their families of origin, it often results in fears around trust and vulnerability towards any external relationship.  Our instinct is to shift into a self-protect mode because we fear being hurt again. Defence mechanisms are designed to block out the bad, but the problem is that they also block out the good. Pushing past our fears is the first step to experiencing the value of community.

Hurt, people, hurt people.” We hurt because we are hurting, not because it is our “heart” to hurt.   The Bible uses the analogy that we are all “parts” of the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) Physically we understand that a part in and of itself is limited in its capacity. My big toe was not designed to carry the full weight of my body.  My ankle has the potential to twist and even break, rendering it unable to support me.   However, no one ever takes this as a personal rejection when our ankle fails us. Yet when someone relational fails us, our instinct is to personalise their failure by believing we are unlovable. Our second step to experiencing the value of community is making sure the narrative we tell ourselves about our value is based on who we are in Christ and not the experience of a failed part.

I want to take the analogy of a broken ankle one step further. A beautiful thing happens when a person experiences a broken ankle;  all their other body parts offer the support needed for the broken part to recover. This is what it means to be a part of the body of Christ.  This is why being connected to a community is so healthy and healing. Note: I never said to be connected to another body part – singular. The potential of ‘one’ failing is way higher than the chances of many parts failing. I learnt this lesson through a wise woman who became a mom in my life. She told me one day that there would be days when she wouldn’t have the capacity to be there for me, not because she didn’t want to, but because she was struggling with depression herself. She wanted to ensure I didn’t personalise her no as a rejection. That’s when I decided to find five moms. 😊 I can honestly say that I have experienced the truth that God does place the lonely in family, and the value of community is its restorative power through Christ who is the head of the body.

God desires all to be healed and restored and live in the fullness of what we were created for. By allowing ourselves to be a part of a loving community, we can align ourselves with healthy parts that can aid us on the journey of finding belonging, acceptance and healing. The choice, however, is ours, and oh, that we would choose life.

By Madz Deyzel