The unsafe Christian community

Bonhoeffer describes our Christian community with a disappointing accuracy. "He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone...The final breakthrough to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners.  The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner.  So everyone must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship.  We dare not be sinners.  Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous."

It is difficult to read on one level, but on a greater level I read that with a sense of relief. What if our churches were communities where it was safe to be imperfect?

One might say, "It must be safe, because none of us is perfect, and the Church still exists."

Just because there are imperfect people in the Church does not mean it is safe to be and present ourselves as imperfect.

Where would this safety come from?  What would it look like?

Psalm 32 is a great presentation of the benefits and joy of confession.

Verses 3-5 read:

"When I kept silent my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.

I said, "I confess my transgressions to the Lord and you forgave the guilt of my sin."

Could you imagine a community where we lived like the Lord?  What a freedom and safety!  We are all sapped by our sin and the weight of its guilt, but I long for a community where my honesty and my confession would actually find forgiveness of the guilt; where I would be surrounded and could surround others in unfailing love. (vs 10)

PC Walker

Speaker.Author.Poet, whatever comes through the cracks is all grace.