Reconstruction Series : Pt. 3 | Reconnection
This is the third article in a four-part series on deconstruction and reconstruction.
There was a time, early in my faith, when I found myself angry and bitter towards God. My season of unfaithfulness was not as well crafted as what we call deconstruction. I didn't critique or analyze my beliefs about Christianity. I simply left. Or, at least, I tried to leave. Thank God He never lets go of His own (Heb. 13:5). I didn't fall back into sin as some do. I ran back into it with my fist raised at God. Prior to this, events in my life had taken a turn for the worse, and without a robust theology of suffering, I quickly became disillusioned and disappointed with God. I felt like I had given up everything for Him, and He let my life fall apart.
During this season, the first thing to go was my time in the Word. I couldn't read the Bible without feeling resentful. Simultaneously, I stopped praying — other than the frequent complaints uttered under my breath. Lastly, but not too far behind the others, I cut myself off from other believers. Their presence added to my negative feelings toward God and hindered my attempts to silence the guilt.
Little did I know, I was playing right into the enemy's hand. Isolation from the Word, prayer, and other believers has always been the perfect three-fold attack Satan uses to shipwreck faith. It is no wonder the Bible commands us to cling to all three. These are our lifelines.
“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” (Col. 3:16a)
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Rom. 12:12)
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:24-25)
When the Lord finally led me to repentance (as discussed in our first article and to be elaborated on in our next one), He did so through His Word. He had to take me through a series of reforms, first in my beliefs and then in my behavior. The error I believed about my supposed exemption from suffering because I was a Christian was among the first to go, as it was at the root of my rebellion. Next was reforming my view of forgiveness. I had to learn how to take hold of His forgiveness by faith. As these reforms in my beliefs continued, He began working on my behaviors, which took me to a place of reconnection.
With my reconnection to Him established, He began reconnecting me with the body of Christ. The Lord was systematically inverting the three-fold destruction inflicted by the enemy. This particular restoration was the most difficult of the three, however. Restoring me to His Word and to Himself through prayer was somewhat passive on my part. He did all the work. On the other hand, reconnection to the body required effort, trust, and, most of all, humility. Had I stopped short of this, I would have never reached healing.
Unfortunately, many believers who return from deconstruction do just that. Praise God that they have embraced repentance, acknowledging the pride, idolatry, and unbelief of deconstruction. Praise God when they arrive at a place of reform, where they begin to submit to God's Word in their beliefs. But stopping here leaves one perilously vulnerable once again to becoming prey to the enemy and stunts the healing process.
But why reconnect?
Why is this the case? Why must we reconnect to the Body of Christ to be made whole again? The short answer is that God has designed you that way. Jesus not only saves people, but He is saving a people (Rom. 9:25-26). He adopts you into a family (Eph. 2:19). He gives you admission into a Kingdom (Col. 1:12-13). All of these truths speak to the reality of our corporate experience of salvation. The Church doesn't just happen to exist because God is saving many people; the Church is who God is saving individually and corporately (Eph. 5:25). For more on this, see Do I Need to Be Part of the Local Church to Be a Christian
If the “why” of reconnection is because God has designed you to flourish as a member of the Body of Christ, then how do we do this? Especially after repenting of deconstruction? I want to offer you three brief encouragements to consider.
- Set realistic expectations of yourself and others.
- Remember why you're doing this.
- Seek to be the means.
Set realistic expectations of yourself and others.
If you've ever rushed yourself back onto the field after an injury, you know that you only need to learn that lesson once. Often, in a surge of spiritual recovery, we forget that wounds take time to heal. Know your limits. Make sure you are attached to someone you can be vulnerable and honest with but guard your heart (Pro. 4:23). This is especially true for those whose deconstruction began as a result of pain inflicted by someone in the Church. Learning to trust is not easy. Don't fake it, and don't rush it. But don't put it off, either. Likewise, be realistic in your expectations of others. Clearly, you know that you're not perfect. And, chances are you hurt people in your deconstruction period yourself. If God has given you the grace to be imperfect as He sanctifies you, then you owe that same grace to others. I commend this parable to you as it says it far better than I could (Matt. 18:21-35)
Remember why you're doing this.
We are all notorious for forgetting why we do the work of connecting with people in the body and who we are trying to please. When it's challenging to connect and reconnect, remember that you are doing it because you know it's good for you and pleases God. I'm one of those people who would rather be by myself than with a crowd. I'd rather try and solve my own problems than rely on others. My social battery is perpetually on 10%. But sometimes, giving our time and social-emotional capital to the people of God is like a good dose of medicine. You may dread taking it, but eventually, you'll be glad you did because it is good for you, and it pleases your Father for you to be with and depend upon your brothers and sisters.
Seek to be the means.
It's more blessed to give than to receive. When all other motivation to reconnect fails, just be a servant. Temporarily refocus from what the Body of Christ can do for you (our second point) and focus on what you can do for them. If God has granted you repentance and reform, you have been blessed. Seek to be the means by which He blesses someone else. It's amazing how much healing occurs when you stop picking at the scab long enough to pay attention to something else. Serving others has the remarkable power to bring spiritual health. It's as if we're getting out of God's way and letting Him do what only He can do when we are focused on others.
Prodigals: come home and feast with the family.
Returning from the far country is a gift of God's grace (Luke 15). When He calls us home, He not only welcomes and embraces us but also places us back at the table to feast with the rest of the family. Reconnection with the family of God is vital to our restoration after deconstruction.
Nick Judd is the Kids Pastor at The Journey Church in Lebanon, TN. He is also the co-host of the "Everyday Apologetics" podcast. Nick is passionate about growing people in their knowledge of the Word of God and in their ability to defend it in the midst of a culture fighting against truth.