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Monday, December 30, 2013

Developing A Safety Net

In review of 1 Peter 3:8 it says, “Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.”

Bottom line:
All of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

What this means to me:
I am to have a like-mind (same attitude), live in harmony and understand others.  I am to love them like family. I am to always be compassionate and humble in my interactions. In life tough times and tragedies are inevitable; and no matter what, I will face them. However I don’t need to go through them alone. I need God’s safety net to help hold me up through the difficult times. God’s safety net is a group of other believers, a handful of people who are really committed to each other and myself. This group is call a “community.” Here’s God’s plan for community: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26a). Community is God’s answer to despair. Romans 12:15 expresses a very similar idea: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” The first part of that verse is easy. When something good happens to someone, it’s easy to join in on the party. But when someone is having a tough time, it can be more difficult. But, really, it’s quite simple. When going through a crisis, advice is not what is always required; in fact we often just want somebody to be there to sit with you, put an arm around your shoulder, or cry with you. As Paul tells us, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11a). Encouraging someone else doesn’t always mean giving a pep talk or words of wisdom. Sometimes the best kind of encouragement is just sitting in silence, waiting and weeping with a friend. It’s important to have a safety net, a committed group of fellow Christians I know that I can count on in life’s toughest times. The hard times in life are inevitable, and only a fool would go into them unprepared. It’s important for me to be building this type of friendships in my life. Today I will start to consider who I can continue to build community with in order to reach that level of commitment.  I will also consider what practical ways I can provide someone else with a safety net.