God made us to live in covenant and in community―we’re members of one another. Covenant always involves promises, commitments, duties and responsibilities. As a result, communities are formed: church, family, friends, work, school, etc. All of these communities (or circles) connect us to one another in personal relationships and all are under the overarching covenant we have with God. It’s important that the various circles we find ourselves in also overlap with our other circles to some degree (if at all possible). It’s dangerous when we allow ourselves to establish circles of relationships that are isolated from the other circles of our lives. We get into trouble when we live in those isolated circles where people don’t fully know us, and where the folks in our other circles have no access. It becomes too easy to compromise and live in that isolated circle in a way that’s different from the other circles. This is also true in so-called Internet communities.

There is a certain accountability that naturally occurs when our circles overlap. This is especially true if we find ourselves guarding one circle from all the others. Do your friends know your family and visa versa? Have the people at work met your spouse and children? Does everyone know where you go to church and do you feel comfortable inviting them to church events? If we’re faithfully following Christ in every circle, then we’ll have no management concerns when those circles overlap.