By Pastor Heerak Kim
Time to time, the difficulty of ministry has affected my emotional and mental wellness. I was anxious due to a conflict in my previous appointment, so I called one of my small group friends and talked it out. His listening ears and empathetic presence calmed me down. My small group continued to check in with me and make sure I was okay. When I encounter difficulties in life, I still seek help from my small group. I talk things out and alleviate my anxiety. My small group is there to listen, pray with me, and hold me up. The attitude of seeking help itself makes a huge difference when I am confined in my negative thoughts and feelings. My small group makes it possible because there is trust and love. We meet as often as we can. We become like a family. We share joyful moments of our lives as well as struggles. We help and encourage each other in any way possible.
I want every Glen Martian to have such support. Glen Mar has many strong, well-established small groups which are open to the newcomers. If you want to be in a newly formed group, that’s great. We can do that. Please email me or just tap my shoulder when you see me in the building. If you are interested in bible studies, please reach out to me as well. Often, people are drawn first to bible studies due to curiosity and interest in the contents, and stay with the group even after the studies are over because the relationships they have built with others in the group become crucial in their lives.
I believe that God calls me to be who “I am” since God is “I AM WHO I AM”. The whole journey of becoming self is the end. The call to be self cannot be done by self alone. It includes the recognition of “I am you”. “The Other” makes and defines Self. The strangeness and difference of the Other would naturally cause fear and aversion of self. Eliminating the Other, however, is carving irreversible wounds in Self which will be distorted and never be the same. Empathy is a mysterious divine power which makes humans human and completes Self. When Jacob met Esau who was the ultimate Other and twin self, he said to him, “for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God” (Genesis 33:10). The Divine who is holy (meaning different) makes the Human human. Jesus, who loved the Other to the point of giving his life away, actually lived the fullness of his life.
We all long for belonging. We long for being heard and understood. We desire friendship. We want to be true to ourselves. All these things can be found in small groups.