I find it interesting that human beings were designed to be in community. From the beginning, God understood that it was not good for man to be alone, so He created woman. Of course, it is not surprising that human beings are social creatures. We are created in the image of God, and our God is a God of eternal, Trinitarian fellowship. Therefore, is it any surprise that fellowship is beneficial for us as well?
I think this requires a little bit of discussion because our fellowship is imperfect. We try to get along, but often times we do not. It may be something as simple as a personality conflict, or it may be something that arises from a bitter insult or long-lasting feud. We do not experience all of the benefits of fellowship that we may, and most of that is due to our imperfect selves in our imperfect world. We make bad decisions, and other people make bad decisions.
Despite all of those aforementioned caveats, we’re still social creatures who are meant to be together. As you read through all of the New Testament letters to the various churches, the theme of community permeates all of them. Paul and the other authors are continually discussing how the churches can come together and ought to figure out their differences. Even though friendship and fellowship can be difficult, they are continually encouraged to keep trying to reconcile.
What does this mean for us? I think we have to consider our relationships. We live in a world of broken relationships on so many levels. I’m not just talking about broken families, but there are broken friendships, broken business relationships and broken relationships with authority. We don’t know how to relate to each other most of the time, and I guess that is where the entire process begins.
We ought to be in the business of reconciliation. As Christians, we have the perfect example to follow. We follow a God of perfect fellowship, and in addition to God’s eternal relationship, we also have the testimony of Jesus Christ while He was here on earth. Not only did He exhibit the power of reconciliation with the people around Him, but He also reconciled our relationship with God. That is highly significant for obvious reasons in terms of our salvation, but it shows how important it is for relationships in general to be reconciled.
I think that a lot of people are quick to write off bad relationships. After all, if we are not going to get along with certain people, then we shouldn’t even bother trying. If there is bad blood, many people just move on and don’t care. The problem is that all of these bad feelings pile up and are not how we are designed to be. I keep coming back to this idea recently in my own thoughts across a variety of areas. God designed us to be a certain way, and we keep trying to run away from that reality. The truth of the matter is, however, that doing everything God’s way is not only going to be more consistent with our designed nature but also is going to work out better than anything we could plan on our own.