This is another guest blog post – this time from Mafe Quijano of Mentor, Ohio – a likeminded millennial passionate about intergenerational relationships in the church. Enjoy!
I’m back home in the suburbs of the nice, and posh Mentor, Ohio. I’m out in the driveway packing my car to leave for school. I see my neighbor outside walking his dog, and he notices me. Oh no! Now I have to say hi!
I have two options: I can wave and go back inside quickly or I can actually say, “Hi” and have a conversation with him. For many years, I waved, smiled, and went back inside. One day, I chose to actually stop and have a conversation with him. My neighbor is not a Christian, but we became friends and have had many conversations about life. The fact that we chose to actually get to know each other has given me many opportunities to share what I believe with him and actually built a friendship between us!
If that can happen with someone who doesn’t believe what I believe just because I stopped and took the time to get to know him, imagine what it could do for the local church. What would happen if we had a culture of windows rolled down, open doors, and honesty? A culture where we encourage one another as long as it is called today (Hebrews 3:13)? A culture of discipleship?
The truth is, we are not like that naturally.
We are used to being individualistic and independent. “Me, myself and I”
The problem with isolation is that it hides the darkest parts about you. The problem with isolation is that it keeps sin from being exposed.
And what is the biggest excuse that we make for not being vulnerable with one another?
Well…it’s just awkward.
We, the people who have been given all things for life and godliness through the knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 1:3); the people who have received power from the Holy Spirit to speak God’s testimony (Acts 1:8); we, the people who have been called to fear God and not man (Matthew 10:28); we cringe at the idea of vulnerability because we think is AWKWARD. Both introverts and extroverts alike struggle with this.
Let me propose an idea to you. I agree with you. It’s very awkward. It’s not easy to get to know someone. It’s not easy to invest. It’s not easy to let them see the real parts of us. It’s not easy to show our faults. It’s not easy to be selfless and be there for someone who is as messed up as we are.
So yes, it’s awkward. But how about instead of running away from the awkwardness, we embrace it? Most people run away from the awkward and difficult. Let’s do something hard and embrace it.
We need to know, love, and make an effort to pursue other believers, even though being vulnerable may be hard. Even if investing in them takes us out of our comfort zone. Even though we might get rejected.
- God wants us to. Just look up “one another” and see how many verses God uses to encourage us to invest in each other. (Colossians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Ephesians 5:19 to name a few)
- God sacrificed His only Son for other believers too (Romans 5:8, John 3:16). That’s how valuable they are to Him. That’s how valuable they should be to us.
- Every Christian, no matter their age, their social status or personality has the potential to serve God (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
Being vulnerable is hard and awkward sometimes. But it doesn’t matter. I am called to have my windows rolled down and my door open.
Regardless of what others may think.
Regardless of how they look,
Regardless of my opinion about them,
Regardless of their opinion about me,
Regardless of my fears or insecurities,
And regardless of my assumptions.
Because it’s worth it. Because God’s glory is worth it. Because the local church is worth it. Because discipleship is worth it.
God gives you opportunities to get to know and to pursue other Christians every day. Are you going to do the comfortable thing? or are you going to embrace the blessedness that comes with fellowship with Christians?
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:16a ESV)
Beneath the cross of Jesus, His family is my own
Once strangers chasing selfish dreams
Now one through grace alone
How could I now dishonor The ones that You have loved?
Beneath the cross of Jesus, see the children called by God.