Having experienced past rejection, defense is the default. So the shield automatically activates and gets set on withdrawal mode. In conversations, I won't lie, but I may selectively edit what I say in an effort to force myself into the roundness of the hole. But more often than not, my perception of the "hole" is a product of my imagination. I am so afraid of being misjudged that I end up wrongly judging my brothers and sisters by bracing myself for a negative response when there is none. In the end, it's difficult to be built up in love when you hold yourself at arm's length, and I have been the loser for it.
But in reality we're all square pegs when Jesus is the standard. Try and reach that benchmark if you can. But God in His mercy takes people who have been warped and broken by sin and makes them new creations (2 Cor. 5:17). He takes outcasts and adopts them as beloved children (Eph 1:4-5). We were all misfits but God has made us fit and united us in Christ (Eph 2:11-22).
The gospel is not just a message of reconciliation with God, but it also heralds the reconciliation of all believers to one another in Christ. Through the death of Christ, God has brought peace where there was once hostility, and He has broken down the racial, economic, and social barriers that once divided us outside of Christ.
Also when God saved us, He made us members of His household, and He gave us as gifts to one another. Each brother and sister is a portion of my gospel inheritance, and I am a portion of their inheritance as well. We are significant players in each other's gospel narrative, and it is in relationship with one another that we experience the fullness of God in Christ.
Hence, the more I comprehend the full scope of the gospel, the more I value the church for which Christ died, the more I value the role that I play in the lives of my fellow Christians, and the more I appreciate the role that they must be allowed to play in mine.1
This is gospel rubber that I need to apply and reapply to fellowship road. How about you?
1. A Gospel Primer for Christians, Milton Vincent, Focus Publishing, 2008, pg. 23-24.