Life is not meant to be done alone! We were all created for community, to be part of a community and to be in community with others.
Years ago my sponsor told me, “an addict alone is in bad company” Basically anyone alone is in bad company. I’m not talking about some time alone, no, I’m talking about doing life alone, not being “in community” with others is deadly. We need others to do life with because we all need help. That’s right, no matter who you are you need help, I need help. And I’m not just talking about being in a relationship with someone. I’m talking about being a part of a community and having relationship with others.
Marriage is a great example of not being alone. Having a partner in life is important. I’m glad that I have a partner and that I don’t have to do life alone on a daily basis. Marriage is good, but it’s not enough. Marriage can actually deter some people from being part of a community. Our spouse can fill that need for community, keep us from feeling alone and that’s important but it’s not enough. God shares with us in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
We can see in this scripture that two are better than one, in other words having a spouse, a partner, or a close friend is much better than being alone, doing life alone. However God goes on to share that “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Why did God add this? What does He mean? I believe He’s telling us that even though two are better than one, we need more. More people in our lives, more people to do life with, we need to be a part of a community. But not just a part of a community but “in community.” To have one person to do life with is putting too much pressure on that one person to meet the need of community that we were created for. Also, what happens when that one is gone. Too many times I see the spouse of a person, not part of a community, pass away and they are left alone. Struggling to get back up after being knocked down by such a devastating loss.
What about people we know who are loners? People who don’t feel like they fit in anywhere. Typically people will seek out others who make them feel like they fit in. If they can’t find a healthy community that will make them feel like they’re a part, they’ll find an unhealthy community. Our young people many times will try drugs and alcohol in order to fit in. I did! I grew up as a heavy kid that felt like I didn’t fit in. I had a couple of friends, I wasn’t alone. But I also wasn’t part of a community…..until I began getting high at the age of 13. Then I found a community where I felt like I fit in. An unhealthy community that would keep me down, push me down for over 30 years. I’m not blaming the community I was part of for my bad choices however they did make it easy to justify my bad choices. Many time convincing me that my bad choices were normal, in order to justify their bad choices. Gang life is another community that I’ve been a part of in order to fit in. I could go on and on but you should be getting the picture.
Even as people plug in to the Body of Christ, as people become Christians they become part of the greatest community ever. But many become a part of that community but end up hiding in community. How many of you know people, or are people that have been saved, show up for church on Sunday, maybe even serve in some ministry of the local church, but don’t “do life” with others. How many of us are a part of a community but not “in community”, or in relationship with others? We can be on our way to Heaven, have eternal security but not experience any freedom here on earth.
Many Christians are struggling through life. Feeling hopeless when they’re not. If you’re a Christian you are hope full. That’s right, many Christians are miserable, hurting, hiding behind a smile and they feel like they’re dying inside. It’s because they need others to help them up, to pick them up, to prop them up, to keep them up. We can’t do it alone. We all need help. Not long ago I went to show something to Pamela, my wife, first thing in the morning. She had just woke up and as I showed her the FB post I wanted her to see I noticed she seemed confused. I asked her, “can’t you see”. She answered, “of course I can see, but I need my glasses to bring it in to focus.” Pamela’s eyesight is bad. She needs help in order to see well. She wears glasses to correct her vision. In other words, she can see fine with a little help!
That’s what I love about being a part of the Celebrate Recovery community. I’m held accountable for my actions, I continue to recognize and work on my character defects. I’m surrounded by others who realize they’re not perfect, I’m not perfect but we help each other be better, to do better. When one of us falls we pick them up. We accept others right where they are but we refuse to leave them there. We help people to know they’re not alone and to live out the principles Jesus gave us in order to have a happy life, to find the freedom available right here, before we go to Heaven. Many people can hide in their church community but Celebrate Recovery doesn’t let people hide in the community. CR teaches the value of being in relationship with those in the same community.
The truth is that life is tough, it’s a struggle for everyone. It doesn’t matter if your single or married, rich or poor, have a great job or unemployed, life is tough. Jesus promised us that. In John 16:33 Jesus says, “in this world you WILL have trouble.” That’s a promise. He didn’t say, “in this world you MIGHT have trouble”, no, he said in this world you WILL have trouble. We all struggle through life. We can be confused, scary, anxious when our focus is not clear. When we plug in to a healthy community like Celebrate Recovery, when we not only become part of a community but we begin to be in community. We begin to form healthy relationships with others, not with one, but with a community of others that remind us that we’re not alone, that we’re valuable, that we need each other.
When life is out of focus, scary, confusing. When it seems like all you can see is the struggle. When the enemy says “you can’t see a path forward, a path to peace and joy.” You can say, “of course I can see. I just need my glasses (community)!”