A couple of days ago, some friends invited us to their home for dinner. Another brother joined us. I was excited to see him because I had not seen him in a few months. We had a wonderful dinner complete with a delicious smoothie – just the thing for a warm summer evening.
After dinner, as we talked about various subjects, our brother talked briefly about his life before he began following Christ. He talked about being a part of the clubbing and bar scenes. He said something very interesting. He said that he did not miss the drinking and dancing, but he did miss the friendships. He didn’t miss the particular friends that he hung out with at the clubs and bars. Instead, he missed having friends that he could just hang with… be himself with.
I’ve talked to many, many Christians who have come out of the club and bar scenes. Every one of them have told me the same thing as this brother. They miss the social aspect of their former lives.
As we were talking with this brother, we realized has twisted it was that unbelievers are better at socializing than believers. (I realize that this is a generalization. But, I think it holds in many, many cases.) Shouldn’t it be just the opposite? Since believers are connected to one another by the fellowship of the Spirit, shouldn’t we have a better sense of fellowship, community, and socialization than those who are not indwelled by the Spirit?
When Christians miss their friends… something is wrong. Perhaps we have become so busy doing things, that we have forgotten the people that God has placed us among. Perhaps we have forgotten that the Spirit in us drives us to love God and love others.
I don’t know the answer to this. I have seen it over and over again. I know that I have been part of several churches, and I am just beginning to understanding what it means to share my life with other believers. Before, I always shared programs and functional responsibilities. Now, God is teaching me how to share myself.
I also wonder if we have put such an emphasis on attendance that we have forgotten the purpose of gathering together in the first place: to encourage one another. Perhaps we have become so busy counting bodies in seats that we have failed to notice when someone attends without encouraging others and without being encouraged themselves.
When Christians miss their friends… something is wrong. And, too many Christians miss their friendships and socialization they had before Christ.