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主言：「你們要記念被捆綁的人，好像與他們同受捆綁；也要記念遭苦害的人，想到自己也在肉身之內。」（來十三 3）若我的弟兄未聖潔，我還是未聖潔；若我的能力微小，我就從我身旁的弟兄開始：一個、一個的開始，「直等到我們眾人在真道上同歸於一」（弗四 13）。
Individual and Community
Rev Gordon Siu
I still remember the theme for our church for 1999 was “Be a holy community in the world.” We had a slogan: “Made holy and useful for collective testimony.” Our sincere hope was that following our pursuit of a godly lifestyle in 1998, individual brothers and sisters in the church would devote themselves to building a godly community of faith. At the same time, we hoped they would learn unity, build up one another, and give collective testimony.
In human society, there is always tension between the individual and the community. Many people try to safeguard their personal rights even at the cost of the public. In the end, however, they also suffer. There are also governments that ignore genuine individual needs under the pretext of preserving the public interest.
The Bible is all about community. The collective singular is often used for the faith community: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood…” These are grammatically singular. The Bible is also full of teachings such as “not looking to your own interests” but to spurring one another on toward love and… But when individual needs get neglected, faith community leaders will make special arrangements to address those needs. For example, the seven chosen deacons in Acts 6 attended to the widows of Hellenistic Jews who needed food. The Bible gives balanced attention to the individual and the community. Still, it continually reminds the believer to beware of pitfalls of self-centeredness and selfishness. We therefore need to guard against wrong thinking:
The Lord says: “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3). If my brother has not yet attained godliness, I am not godly either. However little I can do, I will start with the brother next to me, tending to them one by one “until we all reach unity in the faith” (Ephesians 4:13).
[Extract from 《貼近主心懷》 (Snuggling to the Lord), used with permission of China Alliance Press]