Delores is a young woman in trouble. At 31 she presents the outward marks of success. She is a Christian and belongs to a large evangelical church. Despite her accomplishments, however, she is miserable. Past sorrow and present loneliness create great emotional weight for her. She does not believe she could go to her pastor with her problems because she sees herself as a living example of his sermons, an illustration of how far short of the mark believers fall. Her two attempts to talk with others in the congregation have prompted (1) an injunction to be less self-centered, and (2) a hasty suggestion to read a popular Christian author.
Delores’s story is not rare. My counseling work often brings me into contact with struggling saints who are frustrated and alienated from their brothers and sisters in Christ. Such experiences prompt me to share some thoughts about our need to rediscover intimacy among Christians.
The intimacy I refer to means close association with another person in such a way that we are motivated to change or subordinate our own immediate wants for the privilege of getting to know the other better. This definition applies not only to relationships with one another, but with the Lord Jesus Christ as well.
Our Need For Intimacy
God created us, I believe, with a deep, instinctive need for intimacy. Infants and children thrive in the context of human warmth and physical affection. Studies have shown that when these things are absent, the result is arrested development, even death. Adults are no different. Reports from concentration and prisoner-of-war camps indicate that people who had had meaningful relationships with even one other person stood a far better chance of survival than those who shut others out. The ...1
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