There is more to Christian fellowship than commitment, human closeness or even heterogeneity. You can get a wonderful feeling of being accepted for your naked self from therapy groups ……
What is it, then, that distinguishes Christian fellowship from every other form of closeness, oneness, togetherness or whatever? Why is it so important that its uniqueness be experienced when so many psychological substitutes are available? What makes truly Christian fellowship so difficult, yet so vital to achieve? ……
The capacity to experience fellowship (to share, to be close, to know) was given by God to all men but was mutilated by sin. Sin has damaged our capacity to know God. Therefore any attempt to mend the broken fragments of humanity, however exciting or apparently successful, will be illusory and doomed to ultimate failure unless humanity’s relationship with God is restored.
I cannot have true fellowship with you unless both of us have fellowship with God. …… At the the heart of Christian fellowship is reconciliation, the restoration of your relationship to God. For you can only truly know someone else through God and in God. …… As the miracle of eternal reconciliation is daily renewed in your experience, so too your capacity to have Christian fellowship with another brother or sister will be enhanced.
— from “The Fight” (1976) by John White [emphasis mine]
Questions for reflection:
1. Do you measure the “success” of your Christian communities by your commitment levels, your closeness, or how alike you are? According to this, you might want to think again.
2. When there are problems in your Christian relationships, do you deal with them only through psychological means? Could you be missing the underlying root causes?
3. What does it mean to know someone else in God and through God? It may sound obvious, but consider what your relationship with one another is based on. Is it based on demographics? On your common interests? On your relationship to your pastor? Or on your relationship to God?
4. Do you experience that the more you’re reconciled with God, the more your relationships with one another is enhanced?