There’s a longing in each of us to belong — to find people who will accept us for who we are, not for who we pretend to be. It can be pretty tiring to feel like we have to veil whom we are in order to please others.

That’s a big part of why Jesus commanded his disciples three times to love one another. His revolutionary plan was to create a community characterized, above all, by love. He envisioned communities of ordinary people forgiving and accepting and empowering one another to follow him wholeheartedly. The most extraordinary community on earth was born: the Church.

“But I’ve been let down by church,” you might say.

It’s no secret that the Church isn’t always great at loving. If you stick around long enough, you’re likely to be hurt in one way or another. But when we focus on the disappointments of our church experience, we can fall into a common pitfall in our search for belonging. We can spend so much time waiting for our church community to become what we want it to be that we forget our role in helping to make it a place marked by remarkable love.

Think back on the wonderful, uplifting relationships you’ve had that have inspired you to keep on following Jesus no matter what. Are you seeking to initiate those kinds of relationships in the power of the Spirit? By investing in the believers God has placed around you, you are helping to create the welcoming community they (and you) have always wanted.

If you’ve been hurt by church, it can really help to talk about it. One of our confidential mentors would love to hear from you. Just fill out the form below!

updated September 2019