Monday, December 29, 2014

Blessed communal life

My husband and I were invited for dinner by our friend today. He lives in a house where ex-addicted people are living communally. The inhabitants there have already finished the recovery course in an institution (about 1.5 years) and now they are in this house for helping and protecting each other from going back to their old habits.

Oh, what a delightful conversation we had! Each inhabitant shared their own life story and we also shared our thoughts and beliefs with them.

When I asked them what made them decide to stop drugs, they answered with one voice; because I was so lonely.

“During my stay in a recovery institution” our friend started. 

“I have learned the very essence of human life for the first time in my life. I have learned how to obey the order, how to accept rebukes and disciplines with humble heart, how to be honest, how to build relationship with fellow human beings etc. I was alone before but now I am not alone. We have lived together, known each other’s strengths and weaknesses very well and they are my real family.”

“There is no secret among us” the other one added. “In order to protect each other from falling, we are very careful with whom we have social contacts and we ask very personal questions such as ‘With whom did you go out last night?’. And we honestly admonish each other if we find faults.”

With our modern mind, this kind of question is nothing but an invasion of our privacy, right? I thought so. “What? You ask me with whom I went out last nightCome on, it’s none of your business!!” might be our response. But for them, it is their business as well because they care. And they care because they are deeply connected to each other.

Even though this place was organized by secular NGO, dimly I could see the beautiful blueprint of communal Christian life which we can hardly see in our modern church settings.

I asked myself, “How much have I cared for my own brethren? How much have I shared my own time and life with them? Where can we find a Christian community where we can be deeply connected to each other like these ex-addicted friends?”

If you are like me, you have been seeking such a community as well. Or you are already in such a one. The fragmented, highly individualized society is crying for intimacy and direct human interactions. 

We are so hungry for warm fellowships. Consciously or unconsciously, we are looking for a place where we are known not partially but wholly, being accepted as we are. And this, I believe, derives from our innermost desire to have an intimate communion with our Creator. “Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known” (1 Cor.13:12b).

And I simply admired our ex-addicted friends for their courage to face their own problems and sins. The whole community is constantly fighting against their common enemy called drugs. I learned that this kind of uncompromising stance against sin makes it possible for one community to be maintained healthy and loving. 

Fighting against my own selfishness, pride, greed, hypocrisy, fear of man etc,, is a necessary step to be part of any Christian community and to enjoy intimate relationship with God and fellow believers.

May Christ Jesus grant me mercy and power to apply whatever I learned today into practice.

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