There is a sense in which it is appropriate for us to be private people. Unfortunately, this can become an excuse for a person to remain “private” when, in fact, God requires them to be public. Worship, fellowship, service, prayer, confession, labor, and much more demand a sort of public exposure. In genuine community we must be seen, and we must be seen beyond the veneer. We all possess many insecurities and we all spend a great deal of our time and energy covering up those insecurities. Yet the work of sanctification involves changing, growing and maturing i.e., becoming like Jesus Christ. This is how we overcome those insecurities. It has pleased God to place His people in local churches along with other redeemed sinners to work that work. In addition to the word and sacraments, the Holy Spirit uses real people to affect those changes; they are His instruments. It’s in the day-to-day real life relationships that our faith is tested, we are instructed, and we have the opportunities to put our faith into practice; and we know that practice makes perfect.
Being part of the community is not a spectator sport; it requires full participation. Anonymity is not an option, though many have learned how to get lost in a crowd. When we try to live in the community in a superficial manner―when we try to fly below the radar, never truly knowing or being known―then we can neither love nor be loved. We must come out of hiding and be exposed.