Your science teacher is assigning partners for a lab project and you got stuck with the one person in the class you do not want to work with. She’s so mean and hard hearted. She has to have her way on EVERYTHING. How are you going to work with someone like her and still manage to get a good grade?
The Current State of Relationships
The majority of people in our society are concerned mainly with themselves. Our society is so busy, we hardly have any time to think about anything beyond ourselves. Our phones dictate our life rather than the people we love. We’re competitive, comparing ourselves to one another on social media. We’ve been trained to not trust people, which leads us to building up walls between us and potential relationships. All these issues cause us to avoid relationships, so we never really learn how to love and interact kindly and gently to one another.
Building relationships takes an extra effort. It’s easier to fill our days with music, movies and other entertainment rather than taking the time to develop or deepen a relationship with someone we care about. Our relationships then become only surface level. We don’t always take the opportunity to casually hang out and enjoy other people. Instead, we have to schedule time to build a relationship. Our best friend online may actually be hundreds if not thousands of miles away from us. We love them tremendously, and they understand who we are, but we never have the opportunity to hang out and simply enjoy one another’s presence.
Sin and Selfishness
Our society has created a life model that is “all about me.” This translates into relationships benefiting the self-seeking person, rather than the whole unit. Our culture believes a relationship isn’t worth the effort unless we’re happy. We ask the question, “What’s in it for me?”
In our society, we expect something in return for our relational effort. If we invite a friend over, we expect an invitation in return. If we buy a friend a present, we look for a gift as well. If someone doesn’t respond to our text right away, we get upset and frustrated with them.
Sin hinders relationships because, in essence, sin is selfishness. Having a self-centered focus on life drives us to fulfill our own desires above caring for or being concerned with others. Proverbs 18:1 says, “An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends.” (NIV)
What are Relationships Supposed to Look Like?
God wants us to love, serve and care for others. Ultimately, we should love others unconditionally, but realistically, we should love them as completely as humanly possible. This is how relationships work best. Love involves submitting yourself to another person. If we look at the Trinity, the ultimate relationship – the Holy Spirit and Christ himself submit to the Father and all make a sacrifice on our behalf.
Our human nature will naturally try to take over, but God’s love endures forever. So when we feel like we have nothing to offer, we can learn to rely on God, and His love will pass along to others through us. But in order to fall upon the Lord, we must know Him and depend on Him.
Our actions and words will demonstrate our love for others. When we set our own agenda and desires aside in pursuit for what’s best for the relationship, the relationship will flourish. You may not receive as much as you give, but if you’re truly embracing the relationship, it doesn’t matter. Honor God with your love through the relationships you build.
Though human relationships will never be perfect, they will always be what we long for. God created us to be in relationship with Him as well as with one another. Relationships are essential to our identity.
As we grow in our relationship with God, we will become more and more aware of how relationships are about unity, unselfishness and nurturing the spirit within one another.
The more we understand His love for us, the more His love can flow from us to others. The deeper we build our relationship with God, the more aware we will become of what true relationship is really all about.