Why is it that people (myself often included) are so averse to community? We might be okay with a work relationship, a few minutes at church, saying hi to a neighbor, or even a weekly small group of some kind, but when it comes to really getting into life with people we just opt out. I don’t know the answer to this, but here’s a few thoughts.
- Convenience and Comfort: Getting real with people, being with them in the tough times, sharing meals, and being willing to pick up the phone when they call are not convenient or comfortable. There have been times when these things have made me desire a night in front of the tube more than reaching out to actual people. The ones on the screen don’t expect anything of me. The problems with this value are self-evident. You don’t grow in convenience and comfort, you have no real friends to be with you in times of trouble, and lack of deep relationship is not fulfilling, just easy.
- Fear of rejection (or at least differing hopes): It sounds like high school dating, but when you open yourself to real community with others there is the chance that the relationships will not fulfill what you hope they will be. When you want to “get serious” and they “just want to be friends” it can be hard to take.
- Past letdowns: I think most people have been in one setting or another that held the hope of deep and lasting community, but a lot of those situations don’t pan out. It can work against you even if they do. Then if you lose the deep community because of distance, time, or whatever reason you’re forever l0nging to have that back and measuring all future relationships against it.
- Satan’s Influence: I think many of us believe the lie that we don’t really need community or deep relationships. We see the difficulty involved in developing them and just figure it’s more work than it’s worth. We weren’t meant to live that way and it’s devastating to our potential and our spirits when we do.
Other thoughts on why so many of us roam the earth without deep, meaningful, and lasting community?