It’s interesting how varied language can be. Even if you’re speaking the same language as someone else you could mean something completely different depending on what region of the country you’re from. Here in America, if you’re from the Northwest, you likely call a can of carbonated, sugary drink a “pop” whereas if you’re from a more southern region, you might be more inclined to call it “soda”. Many of these language nuances are pretty commonly known and held by large groups of people, but some of us just have to be weird. For example, if I wouldn’t be mocked by others I would call an umbrella a “bumbershoot” because that’s just more fun.
I once lived with a girl who didn’t call her blanket or comforter by their traditional names, but called them a “cover”. So, anytime we were camped out in the living room, getting ready to watch a movie or dive into a deep conversation, we would have to pause a moment for her to get her “cover”.
Community is like my friend’s blanket: it can expose and it can cover.
Living in community with others means they will cover you in prayer and support. It also means they will expose your flaws and your gifts.
I have a friend who, when I first met her, would freak out every time she was forced to pray in front of people. So, what did we, as her community, do? We exposed that weakness. We created a safe space for her to practice praying where there would be no judgement from others. We encouraged her and cheered her on and she grew in that area. In public we would cover her and in private we would expose her, it was a beautiful balance.
Now, community should never cover sin. Sin is meant to be exposed to the light of God’s perfect love because, in that space, he is able to heal and restore. This doesn’t mean that we go hunting for sin in people’s lives and we surely don’t broadcast it all over social media or shout it from the rooftops. But we are called to confront sin when we hear about it (we’ll talk more about this tomorrow, so stay tuned).
How are you covering those in your community? Do you create safe spaces for them to grow? Do you call them out when they need to be challenged? Do you cover them in prayer? I encourage you to be intentional about how you’re covering your community today!
Download Community: You’re Welcome at the Table, a free PDF, at sarahjcallen.com/community