4 Barriers to Community

We’ve all experienced broken communities. Some worse than others. Many times our response to the brokenness of others wounds us just as deeply. Human pride can rise up in response to being hurt and keep us from being healed.

We’re hurt in relationship, but we’re also healed in relationship. If you’re going to experience that healing, you’ll need to identify how your pride is causing you to hide:

1. Self-condemnation

You believe your sin is too great for God. There are two internal dynamics at work in a Christian with regard to indwelling sin. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin specifically. He makes us uncomfortable so we will turn back to God in repentance and faith. The counterfeit is condemnation. Condemnation doesn’t just say, “you failed.” It says, “you’re a failure.” Not just, “that was a loss.” But, “you are a loser.”

Self-condemnation consists of two doubts. We doubt that God’s sacrifice was enough to cover our sin. And we doubt that God’s Spirit is powerful enough to keep us from overcoming habitual sin. Self-condemnation keeps us from repenting of our sin before God and receiving power from God to overcome. 

2. Self-righteousness

You believe that others' sins are worse than yours. There is both vertical and horizontal self-righteousness. The vertical aspect is when we say, “I can earn my own right standing before God.” The horizontal aspect is when we say, “I would never sin the way that person is sinning.” Self-righteousness keeps us away from people who we perceive are struggling and keeps us comparing ourselves with others instead of loving others. 

3. Self-protection

You believe that God can’t be trusted through people.  The main lie that emboldens self-protection is that others won’t be able to handle the real you. This is based on experience.  You shared something about you and someone used it against you to hurt you. Therefore, you make a vow: “I will never let that part of me out.” But when you try to protect yourself, you preserve your wounds.

4. Self-pity

You believe your life is too hard for God or others to understand.  Self-pity is the response of pride to suffering. People who live in self-pity value their suffering over the suffering of Christ and the church which keeps them from being humble.

If you want to be known, served, and celebrated in community, you’ll need to be challenged by that community. And that community will help you live the life you’ve always wanted.