So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. Romans 14:19 NLT
“I can do it,” my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter told her grandmother. Tish was sitting on Momo’s kitchen counter stirring her first cake batter, firmly convinced she had all the expertise necessary to produce a fine cake. At two-and-a-half. That’s understandable for a small child, but have you ever seen an adult who could do it all and never needed help? Or have you been that person who, as the old saying goes, is independent as a hog on ice?
Do you know people you’ve offered to help–something as simple as giving a ride, setting a table, assisting with a task–who can’t seem to acknowledge the smallest need? We build walls around ourselves so that we maintain an air of invincibility and inaccessibility. As long as we’re self- sufficient, no one can require anything of us. Our pride is nurtured when we delude ourselves into thinking we don’t need anyone. And we can pretty easily shut everyone out.
But isn’t it interesting that the King of Kings was supported by women (Luke 8:1-3); that someone else was his banker (John 12:6); that he allowed Mary to wash his feet (Luke 7:38); that he asked his friends to pray with him (Matthew 26:49); and that Simon carried his cross? The One who created all things humbled himself to permit others to help him. He provided the space for intimacy that emerges when we open ourselves to being served. His greatness disallowed pride but opened instead the door to love.
We sometimes erect walls to avoid pain but in so doing, we inflict pain. Jesus “knew human nature” thoroughly (John 2:2), and still, he chose Judas. And Peter. And Thomas. He lowered his own drawbridge to welcome flawed human beings in familiarity and mutual exchange. Jesus’ sacrifice came long before his execution at the cross: He gave himself—his time, his thoughts, his privacy, his preferences, everything—from the very beginning. And from his loving sacrifices emerged the Church.
Father, we need your help in pulling down the barriers we’ve erected for selfish reasons. Cast out our fear of being taken advantage of, and help us to become vulnerable, trusting in your protection. Cause your love to open our hearts so that we gladly receive as well as give. Thank you. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.