McLean Bible’s Eric Saunders of Arlington Communicates About Healthy Relationships While in Isolation During a Pandemic

This blog which writes about McLean Bible Church is preserving the communication by Eric Saunders of McLean Bible Arlington. In this post Eric talks about how to have healthy communication while being sheltered in place. If people from McLean or ex-members have stories to tell about Eric Saunders church or McLean Bible this blog is happy to tell them. 

 “Medicine heals doubts as well as diseases.”

Karl Marx

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.

1 Peter 2:24 NIV

McLean Bible Arlington

This blog has been busy writing about McLean Bible. The COVID-19 pandemic is a once in a lifetime situation, and this blog is trying to capture and document how many churches are responding to it and provide analysis of it. Today I am preserving an email that Eric Saunders sent the congregation on March 25, 2020. In the email Saunders discusses healthy relationships in the context of isolation.

MBC Arlington,

I miss you. The absence of a weekly gathering has made me feel more than ever the necessity of physical presence in the gathered church. Podcast preaching and online worship singers are great but woefully incomplete. I’ve been encouraged by our online worship services and discipleship groups, but I can’t help but feel like Paul when he said “For God is my witness, how I yearn for you with all with the affection of Christ Jesus.” For Paul, letter correspondence didn’t cut it. He longed for physical presence.

However, our time of self-distancing is not all lost. God has provided us some unique opportunities and temptations during this season. My prayer is that we will seize these opportunities (Ephesians 5:16) and flee the temptations (2 Timothy 2:22) with the grace that God provides. Next week, I’ll address some of the temptations but here are a few opportunities you have during this season.

To Hear God’s Voice – Our God has spoken, and he longs for his words to touch and bring life to the deepest parts of our souls (Jeremiah 15:16). One of the issues we have is that we’re often too busy to hear God’s word in a way that touches who we really are. For instance, many of us know verses about God’s free love for us and yet have never allowed that truth to address the parts of our lives that seek to prove we are worthy of love. So, we go on, quoting verses like John 3:16 and then continue to do things like overworking, overextending, or get into bad relationships in order to prove that we are worthy of a love that God already gives for free in Christ. A prerequisite to receiving God’s free love for you is to admit that you need it and this process can be painful. This season is an opportunity for you to do heart work. To hear God’s voice from his Word and to allow it to address the parts of your life that your avoided paying attention to because you’re so busy. Here’s a helpful question to ask yourself: If I truly believe what God has said about me in His word, how might that change my thoughts, desires, and actions?

And then pray for this to be so.

To Have Healthy Rhythms – I realize that, for many of us, our work has increased as a result of this pandemic. However, for many this is an opportunity for you to slow down and have a more sustainable pace. Seize this opportunity you have right now to pursue the foundational life-giving activities of prayer and reading God’s Word. Guard these fiercely as life returns back to normal and refuse to allow the busyness of DC life to crowd out our pursuit of God (Luke 10:38-42).

To Deal with Codependency – In a church that emphasizes community so much it can be really easy to confuse community with co-dependency. God desires for his church to be a place where we act like Jesus to each other with the goal of beholding Jesus together (2 Corinthians 3:18). In co-dependency, the goal isn’t to behold Jesus but to behold each other. Another person becomes the solution to whatever negative emotion you’re feeling. You expect them to be the solution to your loneliness. You expect them to make you feel significant, to satisfy you and to comfort you. This is dangerous. This time is self-distancing can be an opportunity for you to be released from over-dependency on a person to dependency on God. This is an opportunity for us all, but I specifically want to challenge dating and engaged couples to use this time of self-distancing well. You don’t have to be around each other all the time. Use this time to increase your dependency on the Lord.

I love you guys. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything. I’m constantly praying for you.

– Eric Saunders