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Reflections: Is it good to be a lone ranger?

During my first eight years of education, I attended a one- room school with a population that ranged from 16 students to eventually only 4 students. I loved the familiarity as each school year started. However, when I headed into a larger school for grade 9, where there were 129 in my grade alone, I struggled to find my way in the comparatively massive building. Gradually, my comfort level grew except at the end of the day. When my last class ended I would leave the classroom, go up the stairs, across a hall, down the stairs, around the corner and down the hall to my locker. Every day I puzzled at how others who had been in the same class and had lockers near mine, were gone or almost ready to leave every time I arrived at my locker. I stepped up the pace day after day, nearly running my route, but I was always later than everyone else.

One day as I walked around a corner I’d not visited before I stopped in shock. There was my 7th hour classroom and my locker was just behind me!! No wonder everyone else beat me to the lockers! My stress, frustration and embarrassment, then and now, were wasted energy because I was too shy and independent to ask for help. Obviously there was no blood and no one died but it must have been somewhat traumatic or I wouldn’t still remember it.

A similar independent attitude and mind set was evident in a child who cried for three days before kindergarten started because that child had not yet learned to read! No amount of reasoning assured the child that the work in school would be age appropriate. Only when the mom and child walked into kindergarten the first day of school and the child looked at the coloring paper on the desk, did a glimmer of hope appear as the child said, “I can do this!” Even though the child’s perception of kindergarten was unrealistic, at least this child talked about fears and frustrations while I bottled mine up inside, trying harder and harder to prove that I could do things on my own.

I believe that many people approach their Christian lives similarly. Either they struggle on alone or they become obnoxious in their unreasonable worries. I know I have done both. Should we tell our struggles to everyone? No, we shouldn’t open our second floor windows and yell our sins to the four winds. However, we should find a trusted friend to pray for and with us when we are heavy laden with life’s burdens and challenges. We can also do the same for them!

The Bible is very direct in its admonition that we not live our Christian lives as Lone Rangers. “We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone,” (I Thessalonians 5:14). “Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace…” (2 Corinthians 13:11) “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…” (I Thessalonians 5:11) … “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction,” (2 Timothy 4:2).

Christianity is not about walking into a church on Sunday morning. It’s about relationship; first between Jesus and us and then between Jesus, us and other Christians. Find, and be an encourager instead of struggling alone.

Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Andrea Johnson at 857-1945 or ajohnson@minotdailynews.com

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