This week at FCA Justin Frye from Grace Midtown Church in Atlanta spoke on how we are accepted in God’s eyes; therefore, we must reflect this love and acceptance upon others in order to form a sense of belonging and a thriving Christian community.
He began with the profound truth that “you already are what you most desire.” We are God’s beloved. This is the ground of our being and center of our identity. Romans 8 explains that there is nothing we can do to separate ourselves from this love. We need to accept our own acceptance. Jesus wishes this for us in John 17 when he continually repeats that He wishes that “they” (us, the beloved) would know that God loves us as much as He loves Jesus.
Not only are we meant to have a interdependent, loving relationship with God, but we are need more than Jesus.
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’”
Connection can be embodied by being seen, heard, and valued by others and by seeing, hearing, and valuing others. Do we feel like we have connections? Do we receive the love of God, embody it, and reflect it upon others?
Connection requires vulnerability. We can be vulnerable by “showing up” and taking risks to be seen and heard. This is necessary in order for us to become a thriving Christian community. Being a trustable and open-minded individual can facilitate safety for others to be vulnerable as well. We should stand in awe of what others have had to carry instead of standing in judgement of how they carried it.
Connection + vulnerability = belonging
Belonging is a healthy need. Wanting to belong doesn’t make us needy or high-maintenance; we are meant to want to fit in. True community is when people feel safe to be who they are while knowing that they will be accepted regardless of what they do or say.
Something that many of us are afraid of is conflict; however, conflict can be an opportunity for intimacy. This is important in relationships with spouses but also friends, family, and whoever else we may encounter. We need to know that we can be valued even if we are disagreed with. In order to be fully known and accepted, we must engage in some sort of conflict
In short, to be known for the display of God’s love, kindness, mercy, and compassion can be done when we:
1. Accept our own acceptance
2. Accept your neighbor’s acceptance
Accept your enemies acceptance