A very wise man once said:
“The deepest urge in every human heart is to be in relationship with someone who absolutely delights in us, someone with the resources we lack who has no greater joy than giving to us, someone who respects us enough to require us to use everything we receive for the good of others, and because he has given it to us, knows we have something to give. The longing to connect defines our dignity as human beings and our destiny as image bearers.
“ we don’t need more churches, as we usually define the word. We need more spiritual communities where good friends and wise people turn their chairs toward each other and talk well.” Larry Crabb – The Safest Place on Earth.
I remember when I first read those words how they resonated through my soul like the sound the chimes make after being brushed by the wind. It struck me as deep and true that we were made to turn our chairs towards each other and remove our masks of false perfection. If we could only stop pretending and start practicing a vulnerability that would hunger for true connection.
Larry Crabb goes on to say that the central task of community is to create a safe enough place for the walls to be torn down so that we can reveal our brokenness. Only then can the power of community do it’s job and restore our souls.
Unspiritual community is made up of such lesser things:
Those types of relationships are so easy and take no courage at all. They fulfill for short periods of time but do not have the power to help us get out of the mud we find our souls in or help us feel known and loved.
And all of these are counterfeit of spiritual friendships/community.
Spiritual community has the purpose of “Reconnecting a detached soul to the lifeblood of community requires power that a few people seem to possess. Powerful people can see the hidden life that is already poured into another by God and, with an awareness of the life they have received from the same source, they pour out what is deepest and truest and noblest within them into the soul of the another; and they do it with a clear vision of what that other person could become as the life of Christ is nourished and released within. Community – Larry Crabb
Here are a few sentences that we can pray to help us form the life giving spiritual relationships that we long for.
God grant us more empathy and tear down our judgements. In every place that we see others through our veil of fear or pride, I pray for a revelation of the Father’s love to clear our sight.
I pray for courage and insight to build up the man or woman that you bring in front of me.
Lord what are you wanting to release through all the difficulties and joys in this person’s life?
How do you intend to advance your Kingdom through this person?
What weaknesses or strongholds is this person wrestling with that keeps them back from their full potential? Please give me the words and insights to honestly and gently deliver that information to this man or woman of God.
Thank you for the specific ways that this person blesses me. (recount them)
Help me to see how those gifts can bless the body of Christ.
Grant me vision for this person Lord and help me from falling into the trap of believing that I’m dealing with a problem.
Two books that can take you much deeper into this worthy topic would be Connecting and The Safest Place on Earth. Both by Larry Crabb.