Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Relationships 2: The Sequel

Unless you are reading from the bottom up like you're supposed to, you probably haven't read my earlier post cleverly titled "Relationships." You should read that one first. In fact, you shouldn't even be reading this sentence, because you should have already clicked this gigantic link and begun to read the earlier post. You can come back when you're done though. Please?

As I mentioned in another earlier post, I had a conversation with a friend from church about relationships in which he voiced many of the same thoughts I had while writing the post you just read. Because I speak even worse than I write, I think he felt like I was dismissing a very important point: my relationship needs. Perhaps you thought the same thing when you read it. Actually I did address it, I just neglected to say how. So what about my needs? We all certainly do have needs. God himself said it:
Genesis 2:18
The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
Man has barely been alive for 10 verses at this point, and already God is making it known that man has been designed with relationship needs that God intended should be met by means of other people. That applies to all people, not "everyone but you." So God designed me with needs, and yet asks me to place my focus on him and on the people around me, that is, outside myself. Why does he ask us to do this? Check out what it says in Philippians:
Philippians 2:3-8
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross
God asks us to place others' needs ahead of our own because God himself in the person of Christ Jesus did exactly that for us. So who do I depend on to meet my relationship needs? Here's the beauty of God's command: if you and I and the people around us are all doing what God asks us to do, all of our relationship needs will be met as a matter of course.

Here also is the counterpoint: it is the nature of relationships that we have the power to hurt each other, and because we are sinful, we will hurt each other and we will fail to meet each other's needs. I will hurt you, and I will fail to meet your needs. I am working on it, but it is going to happen from time to time. Please forgive me when it does. You also are going to hurt me, and fail to meet my needs. I need to remember that we are both human and forgive you as well.

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