If you isolate yourself from relationships to avoid hurt, you'll end up hurting yourself and cutting others off from the help that is you.
— Doug Bursch (@fairlyspiritual) April 18, 2014
@JenniferNeyhart This conversation is your writing prompt. :) @fairlyspiritual @sometimesalightWhen we are hurt by someone our instinctual, defensive reaction is to throw up our walls and get the hell out of there as fast as we can. And I've observed in myself that this can cause a chain reaction, affecting all other relationships. Thankfully, some of my closest friends have helped me see and fight this initial response, but it continues to be a struggle. I am so afraid that it will happen again. I tell myself that if I let others in, they won't like what they see and they won't love me the same.
— Ellen Mandeville (@EllenMandeville) April 18, 2014
But God created us for community: for deep, meaningful relationships, with God through Jesus and with other people. He never intended for us to journey alone. Think of all of the "one another" passages in Scripture:
"Love one another. As I [Jesus] have loved you, so you must love one another." - John 13:34
"Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace." - 2 Corinthians 13:11
"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." - Romans 12:10
"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." - Romans 15:7
"Serve one another humbly in love." - Galatians 5:13
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." - Ephesians 4:2
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." - Ephesians 4:32
"be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit." - Ephesians 5:19
"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." - Galatians 6:2
Over and over and over again, we are exhorted to encourage each other, love each other, bear with each other, and forgive each other. And all of this must flow from the love of Christ in us. God wants to love through us. I've experienced his love through his people, and I don't want to deprive myself of that by cutting myself and/or others off from the relationships that we have. By the grace of God I will continue to choose to be vulnerable and open with the people I know I can trust. And by the grace of God, we will continue to grow together.
(Even this post is an example of community and encouragement in action! This post would not exist were it not for the encouragement of @EllenMandeville =)