Interdependence is simply being dependent on one another. It’s the time of year when we as a country celebrate our independence. I often think that we have forgotten that we became independent through interdependence. We became independent by working together, fighting together. Everyone did their part to reach the goal.

In this country, we vigorously tout our independence. Sometimes, it feels like we have forgotten how we got here. We don’t want laws, taxes etc that infringe on our independence. Others should be able to rise up and make their own way. Those who can’t make their own way are left feeling unworthy.

Not only is the systems of this country far more complex, but scripture instructs us to live interdependently. Paul felt obligation to each place he visited. Everywhere he went he encouraged others to live as Jesus taught, sacrificially, for others.

Please don’t misinterpret my failure to visit you, friends. You have no idea how many times I’ve made plans for Rome. I’ve been determined to get some personal enjoyment out of God’s work among you, as I have in so many other non-Jewish towns and communities. But something has always come up and prevented it. Everyone I meet—it matters little whether they’re mannered or rude, smart or simple—deepens my sense of interdependence and obligation. And that’s why I can’t wait to get to you in Rome, preaching this wonderful good news of God. (Romans 1:13-15 MSG).

6-7 That’s also why you pay taxes—so that an orderly way of life can be maintained. Fulfill your obligations as a citizen. Pay your taxes, pay your bills, respect your leaders. (Romans 13:7 MSG).

This doesn’t mean we all need to pay more taxes. We do need to do some self reflection. At least, that is what I am doing. I’m asking myself about my own need for independence. Am I more focused on what I want? Am I willing to make a sacrifice for the greater community? Am I wiling to build relationships with those who don’t look like me? Am I willing to spend a little more to support small businesses? Am I willing to support changes in laws that raise others up even if it has a negative impact on myself?

That is really the line, isn’t it? “As long as there isn’t a negative impact on me.” That is were it stings. That is when I want to run from interdependence back to independence. If I truly want to live a life that reflects scripture, that reflects Jesus, I stop worrying about me and focus on the other. Paul was wholly focused on others. I need to sit with what stings and really evaluate what Jesus is asking of me.

How about you? Are you willing to do what stings? Are you willing to focus on interdependence? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.

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