Let’s not even try to pretend it’s easy. Or that we should simply press through, or shake it off, or “let it slide.” Perhaps, if we can just allow ourselves to set aside those silly notions, we can get to the other side in one piece. Because being hurt hurts. Plain and simple.
Here’s the thing: there are no perfect people. Not even in community.
We — the imperfect — worship together, and we serve together. We share recipes and grocery shopping tips. We help each other move and we pick up each others’ children from school. We share our dreams and we confess our failures. We bake and deliver casseroles, and we wait and pray with each other in hospital emergency rooms.
It is a beautiful thing.
Until it isn’t.
A few years ago, I got my heart broken, right in the middle of community. I don’t think there are many hurts worse than the ones we receive in community, and I don’t wish it on you. I don’t wish it on anyone. Most of the time, these hurts catch us completely off guard. I think it would be a beautiful thing if no one ever had to know a hurt like that. After all, community is all about love. Right?
Even when we’re at our best, hurting one another is inevitable. Because we’re not perfect. And here’s the subtle danger in being hurt: letting my hurt feelings keep me from ever living in community again. I can build a wall around myself and keep you at arm’s length and I can do life on my own, thank you very much.
But then, what I am supposed to do with this . . .
You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. (James 3:18, emphasis mine)
This is more than building a wall, pressing through, shaking it off, or letting it slide. No, those are the easy options. The hard work is staying engaged, admitting where it hurts, offering the gift of a sincere apology when necessary, and — when we’re ready — offering forgiveness.
It’s true that sometimes things get more than simply messy, and then it may be time to step away. But when we’re just bumping up against each other in the day-to-day of life together, accepting the challenge to stay is often the greatest gift we can offer one another.
Yeah. Let’s not even try to pretend it’s easy. Community isn’t always easy.
But it’s worth it. Community is definitely worth it.
By Deidra Riggs, from the (in)courage archives