The Safest Community

Relational safety is one of the greatest and yet rarest gifts in life. We’ve all felt the sting of betrayal from those we believed were safe. To be stabbed in the back requires closeness….that’s why it hurts so badly. It’s another matter altogether to take a gunshot wound from some stranger miles away. We were made for relationships and yet they are always risky endeavors. To be in relationship is to risk. I have been thinking about this dynamic from a theological perspective.

Theology lies at the root of relationship. It all starts with the Triune God. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit embody genuine relationship. God himself is the icon of true community, the blueprint for all relational interaction. The relationships between the three persons are marked by total trust, loyalty and love. In the divine community, trust has never been breached. Betrayal is non-existent. Vulnerability and transparency are common and without risk. This is the safest community.

Many have suggested that the “image of God” in Genesis has relational and communal dimensions. It’s hard to disagree with this assertion…we were clearly made for relationship and this is clearly anchored in the nature of the God who made us as image-bearers. We were made to know the wonder of a safe community…a place with no anxiety, no posturing, no self-justification, no fear—just peace, love, comfort, joy and the freedom to just be.

The fall, which has been more aptly described as a rupture, introduced tremendous risk into our relational dynamics. It destroyed our vertical relationship with God and our horizontal relationships with each other. Instead of safety, we experience fear and danger with each other.

Redemption is all about healing the rupture that has torn us and our world apart. The cross and resurrection speak of the God who is wounded that we might be healed. This gospel displays a deeply relational God who comes to reconcile all that has been divided. It is his suffering that creates a way back to him and makes fellowship with the Triune community possible once again.

Everyone aches for a safe community. By mimicking the way the Father, Son and Spirit relate to one another we bend this vertical fellowship horizontal. We provide pockets of safety for others. Pockets, which are foretastes of our future hope…perfect security with God and man on the new earth.