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Ancient Christian Wisdom on Staying Committed to Community

When you experience conflict or pain in a church setting, don't run away to another church. It's often better to stay put and work through it. That's the advice from two early Christian sources.

An anonymous 4th century Christian leader wrote:

If a trial [with other people] comes upon you in the place where you live, do not leave that place when the trial comes. Wherever you go, you will find that what you are running from is ahead of you. So stay until the trial is over, so that if you end up leaving, no offense will be caused, and you will not bring distress to others who live in the same neighborhood.

In the 12th century, Anselm of Canterbury compared a restless believer to a tree that can't thrive because it's "frequently transplanted or often disturbed." Anselm warns: "If he often moves from place to place at his own whim, or remaining in one place is frequently agitated by hatred of it, [he] never achieves stability with roots of love."

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