Driving to work one morning last week I was introduced to this song. And it literally rocked. my. world. When I got to the office I played it dozens of times over. I couldn’t get enough. It seemed to soothe my soul and heal an old wound that had recently resurfaced. But as I listened to and read through the lyrics, I was also struck by how much this song speaks to the true purpose of redemptive community.

The Healing Has Begun
by Matthew West

You have carried the weight of your secret for way too long
Thinking if there is a place called forgiveness you don’t belong
Oh, but freedom can never be found behind those walls
So just let ’em fall
Just let ’em fall

Oh, the healing has begun

How long has it been since you’ve felt anything but shame
Child, lift up your eyes cause mercy remembers your name
And those tears you’ve been holding back
Let ’em fall like rain
Cause today is the day
Yeah today is the day

Oh, the healing has begun

Just lift your eyes
Lay it down
What once was lost
Has now been found

There’s a world full of people dying from broken hearts
Holding on to their guilt thinking they fell too far
So don’t be afraid to show them your beautiful scars
Cause they’re the proof
Yeah, you’re the proof

Oh, the healing has begun

Community is a place where we can share our scars and learn from the scars of others. We can exchange the guilt and shame for grace, mercy, and unconditional acceptance—perhaps for the first time ever.

And that’s where the healing begins.

Until next time,
Signe

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I’ve experienced a wonderful time of healing old wounds over the past two years, largely the result of deeply redemptive community. One of the paradigm changes for me was moving away from times of isolation and into moments of solitude. You see I wrongly believed those two concepts were essentially the same—that both expressed the idea of being utterly alone. What I came to see was that I had lived most of my life diving in and out of isolation, purposefully shutting myself (and my heart) off from others…most often out of shame.

When I began my journey into real community with the guys at Serendipity, Ron Keck introduced me to the idea that Jesus rejected the shame and embraced the pain of the cross but too often we do just the opposite, we reject the pain and embrace the shame. Because I had no real connection to my heart and had no concept of redemptive community, the idea of others seeing sin in my life was too painful to bear, so I ran to isolation in an effort to hide (not the first man to do that) and avoid the discomfort of disclosure.

There is nothing redemptive about isolation. It’s merely an attempt to go unseen while making the necessary penance, or allowing enough time for the shame to subside. When I choose to embrace shame and reject pain, I am held captive by the lies that I will not be accepted, I will receive condemnation, or I will disappoint those I care about. However, when I choose to embrace the pain and reject shame instead (as Jesus did), I find freedom and healing. Though there may be some pain in expressing mistakes made and seeking forgiveness and restitution, the enemy has no hold on me when secrets are revealed. And rather than the condemnation I so feared, I am greeted with understanding and encouragement from those closest to me who choose to love me through the challenges and continually remind me who I truly am—a restored son of the sovereign Lord!

This freedom allows me to leave the false security of isolation and move into moments of solitude, where I can seek deeper intimacy with God rather than hiding from him. These moments are so rewarding as God, a loving and engaged Father, speaks into my innermost being with Truth and Beauty and Love.

This has been my experience and I would love to hear some ways you have learned the difference between isolation and solitude. What experiences from your journey can you share? How has the Father been inviting you to move from isolation to solitude? How did this come to you? Was it like me when you were brought into true community or did you experience this in a more individual setting?