Truth be told, Christian community is more like a family. The arena is one of love, but true family love must also involve correction of thoughts and behaviors. The motive behind fatherly discipline of children, however imperfect, is always love. Every parent, however, will make selfish mistakes in discipline: disciplining a child because he has become an annoyance, or has made a public spectacle, rather than patient guiding of the heart. This can happen in the church, too.
When someone steps out on a limb, and attempts to offer some sort of course correction to us, we can have several responses. A common one is resentment: "Who does he think he is?" I know this because I have been there. People have dared to come to me, and offered helpful critique. I fumed. I fussed. I self-justified. I took it to God. They were right, and I was humbled, and set about correcting course. Not easy. Not fun.
The most common one in today's church is leaving. Find an easier place, where we can hide. Frankly, this is part of the appeal of the mega-churches. This is not just my inkling; I have heard many people voice this as just their reason for leaving a smaller church, where they had to shoulder some of the burden of leadership, or service, or "everyone being into my business." Biblical community is uncomfortable, and I want to hide from it.
Incidentally, this impulse is behind the failure of many marriages, and the pervasive lonesomeness many feel in our world. We don't want to be hurt; we figure solitariness is safety, and there we can always get our own way, so we cut ourselves off from anyplace where we might have to bend or yield our will to another, or be hurt. In our Wal-Mart culture, it is easy to do. We can go places and be surrounded by more people than ever before, and yet be lonely, because we do not connect.
This shows itself in the virtual world, too. Real relationships are too costly, too messy, and inconvenient, so we enter into a world of artificial reality, where we can project ourselves to be whoever we want, and "befriend" those who ask nothing of us, and who can be "un-friended" at will, and who, incidentally, are not their real selves, either.
I think many Bible-believing churches are succeeding today by speaking only the pleasant truths. When the unpleasant truths are brought to bear upon us personally, then we can assuage our consciences by going to other "Bible-believing" churches where the unpleasant truths are simply ignored, as if by doing so, we can escape God's all-searching gaze. This is a fool's errand. While we can escape scrutiny on our lives for awhile, and perhaps find some rest of conscience, or (worse) a passive acceptance of our self-destructive sinfulness, God always sees.
Life in community is no easy thing. God did not intend for it to be easy. The alternative is Hell --being left alone, with ones' self, to become one's worst self-indulgent, self-destructive self, with a worm that never dies, a fire that never goes out, and a thirst that is never quenched.
But, life in community here will often cause us to cry out for the perfection of the life of community in the world to come. Its very imperfection shows us it is a pale copy of the true. The father's house has not mansions, but rooms. Heaven is a place of dwelling together, shorn of all that makes dwelling together here difficult and painful. Yet, life together here can give us a warm foretaste of glory. Lewis said if we would have pleasure, we must have pain too. That's the deal. Those who cut themselves off from the pain, miss the pleasure. If I never connect to another living soul, I will never face the bereavement of death. If I am a faceless face in a crowd among the people of God, who will ever help me see my own sins and shortcomings, let alone show up with a casserole when I am sick?
God save us from our selfish selves....