Read: Genesis 2:18-20
Growing up, my dad was a pastor and let me tell you, the “pastor kid” pressures are real. My dad was loved by the congregations he worked with and was always held in high esteem. This, of course, meant that our whole family was held in this same light. And although no one ever outright told me that I needed to be more well-behaved than the other people in the church, the little side comments were enough to communicate it.
I, of course, am no better or worse than anyone else in the church. One of my biggest struggles has been with pornography, an addiction that has proven to be rampant for both men and women in the church. I learned early to internalize my struggles with sin, instead of bringing them to the community around me. I didn’t want to damage my dad’s reputation, or even worse, damage the perception of “Brennen the good pastor’s kid.” The biggest thing is that I didn’t want my dad to be disappointed in me.
Genesis 1 gives us the account of creation in this sweeping, rhythmic structure. In a way, the first chapter is almost a long poem. God creates by declaring something should be, and then declares it to be good. Jump over to chapter two, and the author disrupts this flow. For the first time, God declares something not good. After He commissions man to take care of the garden God says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
This declaration has huge implications for a generation obsessed with autonomy and individuality. It flies in contradiction of the “you do you and I’ll do me” narrative that is so present in our world today. It is not good for us to be alone. We were made for community and fellowship with one another.
I find this narrative can even sneak its way into the church, and I have seen it be wrapped up even as a spiritual thing. I’ve heard people boast, “I don’t need anyone, I’ve got Jesus, He’s all I need.” While this sounds good on the surface, the truth that this passage shows that God made you in some capacity to need others. This doesn’t mean that relationships with other people should ever take priority over your relationship with God. If it were okay for us to not need anyone else, God wouldn’t have said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone.
I opened up about my porngraphy addiction for the first time at a highschool camp, after 3 or 4 years of trying to deal with it by myself. It was the first time I had ever been that open with a community of guys. And you know what, they all had struggled with it too! That same summer God gave me the courage to talk to my dad about it along with about 50 other people in my youth group. My confession was met with a huge outpouring of grace and support, and after some hard talks my dad and I worked out some steps I could take to overcome my addiction.
That summer taught me the value of community, and ever since, I have made it a point to let at least a small group of people in on my trials and triumphs. And you know what? Life is much more beautiful that way! Although I can’t say that I’ve been perfect in my fight against pornography, since that summer it has never dominated my life in an addictive habitual way. That is the power of a godly community.
Pray and make a list of three people who you feel God has placed in your life so that you are not alone. Practice humility and let them know, honestly, how they can help you in your life right now. You were not meant to be alone!!