If we were all able to live on our own little islands with a sign reading, “Visitors by appointment only,” I wonder what life would be like?
As appealing as a secluded slice of paradise might sound to the hermits among us, history clearly demonstrates that such isolation is not preferred by most. And even if each of us had a sustainable island, we would still be susceptible to those who steal and kill.
However, the reason that humans group together is because we are designed to do so. We need each other’s company to get along in life.
Staying together means adjusting to each other’s needs and preferences; and despite the worst efforts of some, we can’t live in harmony without Church Community Standards.
We must pity the churches full of spiritual hermits. Christians sitting as islands among the brethren, never connecting and ever in danger of being overrun by the devil.
Scratch the surface and you will probably be told that the Church Community Standards are the problem. Sometimes too restrictive, sometimes too loose. I have seen Christians recoil at “brethren in need of more soap and manners.” But at the other extreme I have seen Christians recoil at “brethren who can afford to hide away in their own little worlds.” Such attitudes should not exist!
Christians must become experts at rescuing brethren from their Personal Islands. Of course, we are not going to convince anyone to accept the Church Community Standards unless we have already incorporated them into our very beings. Calling someone out of a faith-world-of-their-own-making into the wider church community, while never leaving ours, won’t achieve much. Such pretentiousness must be dropped by all, and the Standards of Christ must be sought.
“Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other. This will bring honour to God” (Romans 15:7ESV).