Next time you take a walk in dense bush stop and think about what is taking place right under your feet. As the roots of the trees connect with each other they form a support system, using a network of fungi to communicate. One has access to water, another to nutrients, and another to sunlight. No single tree has it all, but together they can grow, thrive, and withstand the storms of life. ‘Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the Head of the body. Christ holds it together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love.’ (Ephesians 4:15–16 CEV)
Some of us independent types have difficulty with this concept. We want to fly solo until we crash, and then we realise our need for:
(1) Encouragement. Even Paul needed cheering on: ‘Everyone in Asia has turned against me, especially Phygelus and Hermogenes. I pray that the Lord will be kind to the family of Onesiphorus. He often cheered me up and wasn’t ashamed of me when I was put in jail. Then after he arrived in Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me.’ (2 Timothy 1:15–17 CEV)
(2) Sympathy. ‘Be sympathetic.’ (Colossians 3:12 GWT) We all need to be understood and have our feelings validated. But sometimes we are in such a hurry to ‘fix’ people we don’t have time to sympathise with them.
(3) Grace. ‘Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.’ (Colossians 3:13 NLT) What motivates us to extend grace to others? God’s grace to us! Remember, you will never be asked to extend more grace to someone than God has already extended to you.