Have you ever noticed how life speaks into others’ lives? If you were to tell a random person a great deal of information and then expect them to recall it, you’d have little luck. However, if you told a person a story about your life and explained the importance of one specific truth in your life and asked them to recall what that one truth was you’d immediately get the answer. Relationships are a conduit into our minds, hearts, and souls.
Does information itself build a relationship?
Pi equals 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510 . . .
Do you feel closer to me yet?
The city of Jerusalem fell in 70 A.D.
How about now?
Jesus died on a cross.
I’m sure you are warming up to me now, right?
Information without a relationship is often just empty words. Have you ever read a good book where you feel like you develop a relationship with the characters in the book? You feel emotion when they feel emotion. You cry when something bad happens; you laugh when someone makes a joke. You open yourself up to being a part of these fictional characters lives and they affect you.
In a book, opening up is easy, but in real life it isn’t so easy. We don’t always want to open ourselves to relationships. We don’t mind laughing when others laugh, but real life has real pain. If we open ourselves up to another person, that person might hurt us. Many of us have been hurt so many times, we are wrapped up tight and aren’t opening up to anyone. However, without really opening up ourselves up to real relationships, all we really hear is information.
Jane: How are you?
Jane: How are your kids doing?
Rachel: Oh they’re great! Did you know that Fara just lost her first tooth!
Jane: That’s so exciting! It’s been great getting to see you again!
Rachel: You too!
Jane: Call me soon!
We’ve all had these conversations and they are deplorably phony. Is this a real relationship? You tell me. How are we mistaking this sad relay of information for the significant time, energy, and communication that is invested in the building of an authentic relationship? Without the baring of our souls in relationship, we invest little time, little energy, and little true communication to the people in our life. The facade of relationship is not a replacement for the real thing. Only in true relationships can God use others to minister to our lives and use us to minister to others.
Jesus wasn’t afraid of relationships. In fact, He never ran away from the hurt He saw in others but rather sought to heal their hurt. He befriended an adulteress, a prostitute, a tax collector, some smelly fishermen, and even the man who betrayed Him to death. Though He knew exactly how messy these people’s lives were, He dove right in and got messy with them. He went to dinner at the tax collector’s house and raised some eyebrows. He spoke lovingly to the prostitute as she cleaned his dirty feet and was considered inappropriate. He spoke publically to the adulteress and sought to bring her to a right relationship with his Father. Jesus was wide open to all who came across his path.
Consider this. At the time of his arrest and trial, all of his friends turned their back on Him and hid. Yet Jesus remained loyal to the end and his goal was to restore them in relationship with Himself.
Will you allow relationships to thrive in your life?
Will you let your life become messy in order to minister to those with hurt and brokenness?
Jesus summed up all the commandments of God in two commands, “Love God and love others.”
Become vulnerable and allow God to be your strength. You won’t regret the amazing friendships you will form and the miraculous ways that God will move in your life as you seek to glorify God through stepping out in authentic relationships that bring His love into the lives of those He loves.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you (John 15:9-15 ESV).
© 2013 – 2014, Brooke Shambley. All rights reserved. Love it? Please share, pin, tweet or email but do not use my work without permission.