Created for Community
All of us have experienced a relationship “fail” at some point or another in our lives. It might have been a breakup. It could have been harsh words on the phone and then a hang-up. Maybe it was a string of painful words or even deafening silence. It might have been betrayal or abandonment. No matter the case, these things leave scars for us to remember them by. After we collect a few more scars than we’d like, we begin to wonder, Are relationships really worth it? None of us want to be hurt over and over again, so why bother? It begs the question: Is together really better?
The more relational lines you have to manage, the more opportunities you have to be hurt. And the more wounds you receive, the less trusting you become. We like to put ourselves in the position of calling the shots and having control. We think we’re protecting ourselves and “guarding our hearts,” but we don’t realize we’re suffocating ourselves.
Ever notice how your thoughts are consumed with you? You are the star of your own movie. So it only makes sense that everyone else should see themselves as supporting actors in your film, right? Why is it we can so easily become focused on ourselves? Here’s why: Because at our core we are all selfish. We act like it’s about self-preservation. We say we are just taking care of ourselves. We assume we don’t need anyone, just Jesus. But the truth of it is that one is easier to manage than many—especially when that one is me.
We don’t know the exact recipients of the book of Hebrews, but we know a few things about them. They were truly persecuted. They faced the loss of businesses, homes, families, and even life. They knew people who had gone to prison for their faith. They had fellow church members who had died for their beliefs. And after bearing witness to all of this, they had to be feeling a little bit of buyer’s remorse. I’m sure they were building up relational walls and becoming suspicious of everyone. “Who can I trust?” “Who will turn on me?” “Is it worth it?” They could have closed the door and locked out the world. “It’s just my family and me. We’ll get through this on our own.”
That’s why the letter of Hebrews is so powerful. The author knows that this letter is needed to help them keep the faith and not give up on the hope they once knew. He knows this letter will be read aloud in gatherings and passed from house to house. He knows he has a chance to capture their attention, direct them to the great God they now serve, and motivate them to stay the course. So here’s what he does: He paints beautiful word pictures to show God in all his fullness. He is more than a man named Jesus. He is more than a Spirit in the sky. And he is more than a Father to their Fathers. He’s all of the above. So before you say that you can live your life alone, keep in mind that God doesn’t. God himself exists in community.
Throughout this letter of encouragement and instruction, the author of Hebrews reminds the readers of the nature of God. And though God doesn’t need anyone, he exists in perfect community.
The Trinity has always been a difficult concept to explain, let alone understand. I’ve heard my share of metaphors to help, but they all feel a bit lacking. After all, how do you describe the indescribable?
Though we serve only one God, and God is one, we know that God exists in three forms: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We see all three present at creation. We hear God say “let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26 KJV). We see Jesus in the baptismal waters while his father says he is pleased and the Spirit descends like a dove (Luke 3:22). God exists in a small group. Perfect community. Hebrews puts it this way,
For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus: “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” God also said, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said, “Let all of God’s angels worship him.”
Hebrews 1:5–6 NLT
The author points out the distinction between the Father and the Son and even the community of angels in heaven. Later on, he gives further insight into the relationships between God the Father and God the Son:
While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.
Hebrews 5:7–9 NLT
The idea that God created us because he was lonely is just not true. He didn’t need us; he wanted us. And he wanted us to experience what he experiences. Perfect, yielding, submitting relationships.
So before we assume that “I need no one” is a core value to live life by, we should consider this: Since we were created in God’s image, we are created for community. Introverts and extroverts alike, we need someone. We are truly better together.