Two Key Advantages of Community
We Benefit When We Share Our Joys and Burdens with Others
When God created us in his image, he put within us a desire for community. Just as God lives in community with himself—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—he wants us to be in community with him. He wants a relationship with us. He pursues us.
This same internal desire for connection with our creator extends to other people. God designed us to crave community with others too. No one is an island, existing in isolation. Not only do we find fulfillment when we enjoy connection with God and with the people he created, but we also realize two key benefits from being in community.
Community Amplifies Our Joys
When something exciting happens to us our first instinct is to share our good news with someone else. This may be with family, friends, or our spiritual community—which for many is their church family.
But imagine experiencing something grand and having no one to share it with. Wouldn’t that lessen our elation? Wouldn’t that diminish our delight?
That’s why community is so critical to our emotional and spiritual well-being. When we can share our joys with someone else, the other person celebrates with us, and our joy doubles.
Community Helps Us Bear Our Burdens
In the same way when discouragement or despair hits, we seek someone who will listen, empathize, and encourage. Again, this may be a family member, a friend, or someone in our spiritual community. This isn’t to dump our problems on another, but to seek support as we go through dark days.
Imagine having no one to talk to when we experience the downsides of life. How dreadful to need to walk through that by ourselves. Wouldn’t this amplify our agony? Wouldn’t this double our despair?
This shows why community is so essential to our overall welfare. When we can share our burdens with someone else, that person laments with us and our burden is cut in half. God created us for community.May we find community and nurture it. May we contribute to it and benefit from it. Click To Tweet
Finding Spiritual Connection
Where do we find this community where we can share our joys and burdens? Family is a great start, but not all families function as a supportive community. If yours doesn’t, what role can you play to improve relationships within your family?
Next consider friends. This means genuine friends, not social media friends and not acquaintances, but real friends who are there for you through the good and the bad. If you don’t have friends like this then either seek new friends, or, better yet, strive to offer this kind of support to the friends you do have.
Last is a community beyond family and friends. As followers of Jesus, this should be our church. But if you’re church doesn’t offer meaningful community that will celebrate your joys and help carry your burdens, then it’s time to work to improve the one you have, or, as a last option, to find a new one.
God created us for community. May we find that community and nurture it. May we contribute to it and benefit from it.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.