Community: Safe

The things we value are often based on our histories, our personalities, and our upbringings. For many women one of the most important things to us is safety. While not every woman fits in this category, I’m certainly in that group. When I enter a situation, I have a sixth sense if it’s safe or not, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If it’s not safe my guard is up, if it is safe I will let down my walls a little bit until there’s something that let’s me know it’s not safe and then my guard will go all the way back up.

Community should be safe.
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Have you ever been in a community where it simply wasn’t safe? Maybe you didn’t trust the people around you or maybe there was a gossip problem or maybe hurts hadn’t been addressed and trust had been broken. For whatever reason, we’ve all faced moments and seasons in our lives when we haven’t felt safe in a community.

So what does a safe space look like?

A place to ask questions without fear or judgement.
A place for an open dialogue.
A place where conversations won’t be shared.
A place where gossip cannot exist.

Think about the people who formed the early church: many of these people had been shunned or shamed by the religious system of the day. If I were a Jew who had been living in that time, I probably would’ve been leery of the early church, worried that some of that same religiosity that had existed with the Pharisees and their homies would’ve taken root in the church. Yet, the church continued to grow and become a safe space for those who sought refuge there.

“And when he [Paul] had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord.”

Acts 9:26-28 (ESV)

Paul, the artist formerly known as Saul, had been a persecutor and murderer of Christians – talk about a non-safe guy! I would’ve been afraid of him too and I definitely would’ve suspected that he was trying to infiltrate and potentially kill Christians. Yet, Barnabas was safe, he was one of those includers we talked about yesterday. Barnabas was intentional to create a safe and welcoming space for Paul though he had been the disciples’ worst enemy.

Let’s be intentional to create safe, welcoming spaces for people.

What does it mean to you for a community to be “safe”? And how do you intentionally create a safe space for the people around you?


Download Community: You’re Welcome at the Table, a free PDF, at sarahjcallen.com/community

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4 Comments

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  1. Yeeesss! How often do we not create communities especially at church where people feel “safe” to be themselves?…flaws and all…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting post. My wife (kids) and I recently stepped away from our community because what we deemed was safe / secure was anything but. I am learning that there is very little certainty in life (generally speaking) and the same exists within our churches.

    Does Christ call us to stay in the safety of the ‘bell curve’ or does he call us to more? When I think of Jesus’ life he wasn’t one who chose safety, he chose to be on the fringe of society. Our churches today create safe, conforming environments. Of course there is a lot of good that can happen out of this, but I believe we are called to more. The ‘more’ is on the opposite end of the bell curve, these ends where risk, creativity and our uniqueness is found.

    So, we are in the middle of questioning what safety and community really mean.

    Thanks for writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for commenting, you bring up some interesting points. While Jesus lived on the fringe of society, he was a safe person – people were safe in his presence. In the New Testament, Paul was constantly calling people out, but I believe he was also safe. He wasn’t going to gossip about someone, he wasn’t going to be passive-aggressive toward someone but would be honest.

      I think that we have a lot of pseudo-safe spaces that give the illusion of safety but are actually toxic and unhealthy environments. My hope is that we each examine our communities and make them as healthy as we can. I, personally, desire to be a “safe” person who people can come to as they are pursuing Christ knowing that my heart is to encourage and help them grow.

      I hope that you and your family find the right community that fits your needs! These are some great questions to be wrestling with and I trust that the Lord is going to bring you answers and peace in this season!

      Like

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