I’ve spent a lot of time in the last week reflecting on relationships. Not just romantic relationships, but also general, personal human relationships. They form the base of society, and yet we frequently treat them with casual disregard. I want to explore some aspects of relationships, particularly how critical healthy relationships are to normal life, and how a relationship with God is so much more important than anything else.
One of the most important human needs is to be known. Each and every person has an innate desire for community and belonging, and this becomes possible through a deep and personal sharing of life within the sphere of a (usually) small group of people. That is, in order to have true, deep community with others, you must be known by them, and you must know them. There are different levels of knowledge, to be sure. You will not be known by the people you work with as well as you will be know by your closest friend, and if you are married, your spouse should be your closest and most intimate relationship. The main idea I’m proposing is that you need to be known, and if you don’t have the type of relationship in which you are truly known, it is essential that you seek it out. For the record, Facebook friends don’t count.
The reason these deep relationships are so critical is multi faceted. First, it gives you an opportunity to express and share feelings of joy, sorrow, excitement, pain and every other emotion. Such expression is natural and healthy, and sharing in the high and low points of another person’s life is truly precious. Second, such a communal life leads to a deeper sharing of struggle and therefore a stronger accountability for sin. My friend Ethan Renoe touched on this in this video last week, where he was specifically referring to the fact that confessing pornography use is the first step in breaking its power. This is because speaking the truth has incredible power. Confession (which in its very nature is communal) has an impact upon us. What we speak, believing to be true, impacts our lives. (It is for this reason that Christianity has for centuries affirmed the historic confessions of the faith.) A third reason this type of deep, personal relationship is important is the simple fact that God has ordained them from the early years of human existence! We read in 1 Samuel 18 of a friendship between David and Jonathan which was shored up by a covenant between them, and it is clear from the passage that each of them was deeply involved in the other’s life.
At this point you may be in agreement with everything I’ve said, but you may also be wondering how it actually applies to you. Maybe you have great friends who support you in every way possible. Maybe you have friends who you’d never confide in. Maybe you have no friends, at least not in the way I’m describing. I’d love to comfort you, regardless of which position you may be in. God knows you. Nothing you’ve ever done or ever will do escapes his notice. He knows your joy, he knows your pain. He loves you deeply. When you feel like nobody cares, know that God does. When you feel abandoned or alone, take comfort in God’s presence and know that he will never leave you or forsake you. More than all of this, know that he loves you so much that he sent his only son, Jesus, to die on your behalf so that you can experience an eternity in community with him. Read more about that here.
In conclusion, know that while human community is an essential part of healthy living, whether or not you have healthy relationships, God knows and loves you. If you’d like to talk to me on a more down to earth, practical level about this, get in touch with me and I’d love to dialogue with you about whatever is on your mind.
In love and grace,