The Lonely Christian2
by Gary Dyksterhouse
“He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I recently reread Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book Life Together while researching the biblical grounds for Christian Community. I was so struck by the bluntness of this quote that I have had a difficult time shaking it from my mind. From the moment we are born into this world we fear being alone more than anything else. What is the first thing an infant does when his or her mama leaves the room? What happens most often when, as a parent, you drop your child off for the first time at school? Can you remember the day you were dropped off on the steps of your college dormitory?
We all have seminal moments in our lives that are easily accessed where we can feel the emotion of being left alone. As I type these words my mind is already racing to those memories. Countless studies have been conducted over the past decade on how new technology has preyed on the human desire for connection with other humans. Yet, after all our snapchats, tweets, vines, and instas, many of those same studies have concluded that we, as a human population, are more alone than we have ever been. We are connected, yet disconnected. We post versions of ourselves, yet we rarely have honest conversations with each other
James 5:16 implores us: “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” We are lonely because we are not honest. We are not honest because being honest means being vulnerable. We don’t confess our sins because that is the absolute height of vulnerability. When Adam and Even sinned for the first time, their absolute first reaction was to hide, and we have been hiding ever since. As I search for true biblical community at Westminster, and as I look for community in my house, at work, and in Greenwood, I have become more and more convicted of the value of confession and honesty.
We are all flawed. We often struggle with the exact same sins. It is time that we stop hiding from each other, and hiding from God. If we want to be a community that is set apart for the Gospel of Christ, then we need to accept the reality that we all need Christ and we need each other to constantly point us back to the cross for assurance and forgiveness. This means being honest. That is what will change our church. That is what will change our community. That is what will change Greenwood.