One of the most valuable elements of community is accountability.
Often when we hear the word community, what comes to mind are our cities… neighborhoods…we take a broader perspective. In these communities, we are held to a standard by laws, governed by our local elected officials, and regulated by police. To take action against these laws results in consequences, with those which bring fear and chaos to the community at large (like murder); are held to a higher level of consequence.
On a more intimate level, we have the community of family. Friends. Work. Our church.
It is here where accountability affects each one of us on a deeper level, potentially bringing life, and life-change, to those who fully embrace the community in which they are planted.
I remember years ago when a woman from our church cared enough to take me out to lunch and help me learn from a mistake I had made. It wasn’t earth-shattering, but the consequences of continuing to communicate in the way that I had, would have dampened my ability to grow, potentially caused others to stumble, and ultimately lessen the effectiveness of my testimony. It wasn’t easy at the time, but as the years have passed I have continued to look at her for direction and example.
When we embrace community, we give ourselves, and one another, permission to succeed and flourish. When we choose not to honor our position to one another, we can rob the atmosphere of peace, set a stage for tension and unforgiveness, even damage someone else’s capacity to achieve the very potential we are called to nurture and protect.
There have been times I have felt the need to address certain situations, not so much that they directly affected me, but they harmed someone I valued, or the the person themselves. Fruitful confrontation needs to happen from a position of love. A more complacent stance will stop that flow of love; it stagnates growth, both at a micro and macro level.
We are designed for relationship, for community. It is here that we find our value, our potential, are able to grow in our strengths, identify weakness, and link arms in love. Not always easy, but always worth it, embrace the community you have and let them embrace you. Life change is on its way.