[Editor’s note: Guest post from Tyler Braun, whose first book, Why Holiness Matters, just released]
Consider even the title and the feeling it evokes—the willingness to open ourselves up for the sake of others entering into our lives. While the movie was far from being a “Christian film” the theme represented much of what is missing from the faith of so many: true community through meaningful relationships.
The film picks up as quadriplegic, Phillipe, is hiring a personal aid that will help him get around town, shower, and even clean up his bathroom breaks. A young criminal, Driss, applies for the job hoping to get rejected so he can qualify for financial support from the government. Instead, Phillipe chooses to hire Driss and the two begin a most surprising friendship, one that friends of both highly discourage.
Driss helps Phillipe live the life he gave up after his paragliding accident left him paralyzed, and Driss discovers that he has worth as a human being, not merely as a con-man. Consider the tagline of the film and its ramifications for us:
Sometimes you have to reach into someone else’s world to find out what’s missing in your own.
In my interactions with church members and fellow seminary students over the recent years I’ve seen one common complaint: “My church has great music and great teaching but I hardly know anyone.”
For a lot of people this means switching churches every few years, hoping to find the silver bullet of community at the next church. For others it means floating through the status quo of church attendance and never developing meaningful relationships.
All the while we continue to point the finger at the church and never ourselves.
Something is wrong here.
I believe God calls us to live out the holiness He’s working within us through our following of Jesus. He never intended for us to have a private relationship with Him. No, He desires that relationship to be lived out in our daily lives, minute by minute.
While holiness can begin within us, it isn’t realized until it engages with other people. We cannot be holy without the influence and struggle of a gathered community of Christians. We cannot be holy without the church.
Sin often slowly pushes us away from this gathered community and away from holy living. We cannot hide ourselves from others.
“The more lonely people become, the more destructive the power of sin over them. The more deeply they become entangled in it, the more unholy is their loneliness. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of what is left unsaid sin poisons the whole being of the person.” (Life Together, page 109)
We have a great opportunity being offered to us. God is moving us beyond ourselves, implicating our lives, for the sake of us becoming an intouchable—that is, He’s changing us to become more like His Son through the power of community. He’s asking us to allow the lives of others to shape us.
Make no mistake, this calling isn’t an easy one. My own life bears the scars of true community gone bad in the midst of our sin-filled patterns, but the places God calls us to that change us the most are always the most difficult callings.
I constantly struggle to move beyond my comfortable world where I let people into my life for the sake of new and deeper relationships. Yet each time I jump over that hurdle the pain of brokenness and sin that previously broke down the relationships around me fade into the glory of God’s presence within them.
The fullness of faith in Christ is not possible without His presence in us through other people.
We can call church an overly political group of religious individuals who devote themselves to isolation and culture wars, but we need these broken people more than we can ever fully know.
Take the leap. Overcome the barriers. Become an intouchable.
Tyler Braun is a pastor from Portland, Oregon whose first book, Why Holiness Matters, just released. Learn more about aspecial offer for purchasing the book. You can find Tyler on Twitter or his blog, manofdepravity.com.