I was talking to a friend recently. We were talking about the importance of theology…and it IS important. But it is not the only important thing…by itself!
When I was younger, there were many things in the Bible I did NOT understand. I understood the words. I just didn’t understand why they were considered important enough to be mentioned so often.
What’s the Big Deal about Love?
One of those concepts was love. The passage that used to baffle me was I Corinthians 13! I memorized it as a child. I could quote it. But there was a lot about that chapter that I really didn’t “get”.
One section I didn’t get was the section that said, “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” Or what about the part that says, “If I …understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” What could be better than being a martyr or understanding all mysteries o
r having this kind of faith?!! Evidently, love is more important than that!
Belief and Knowledge are Foundational…but Love in Relationship is most Important!
My background is one that emphasizes what we know and believe. That is very good. It is certainly basic to everything we do. However, relationships were looked on as something in the arena of the fluffy and unimportant at times. That was something you did when you had all the work done (which turned out to be never!)
As a child, I felt that it was my responsibility not to make demands on my parents. Something that was definitely in the relationship/fluffy department. They were doing important work. Pastoring, missionarying, christian school founding…you know, important things! It was my job not to make demands on them. For the most part, I did a decent job of it…at least from their perspective.
I would have done a better job of it if my parents had understood more about many of the basic human needs that children have. As a human parent, I am fully aware of how easy it is to fail here. I have been there. Unfortunately, I still fail…even with grown children. It makes me sad each time too!
But they didn’t. It’s not that they didn’t KNOW them. They were educators. They knew the information. They received a lot of glory for living on next to nothing, for their dedication to their work. No one gives accolades for the parents who take time out to spend with their children…except possibly the children, someday. But it doesn’t show to the watching world!
No one saw the stress in our home because of my mother’s needing to work full-time. I totally realize that working full-time does not always cause a person major stress. That is just how it worked out in our home! It was difficult for them to say “No” to demands outside the home.
Do you Look at Relationships as you Read the Bible?
But have you ever read the Bible and seen what it tells us about relationships? All through the Old Testament, we see true stories about people in relationships. Sometimes it is their relationship with GOD. Others, it is their relationship with other family members, spouses, people in the community. Often the story included a relationship that had gone awry. On rare occasions, we see a great relationship and think to ourselves, “I wish I could be the kind of person that one was in that friendship/marriage.” (examples are Jonathan/David, Abigail and her first husband Nabel, then later with David.)
Most of the time, relationships in the Bible are horribly realistic. I love that about the characters there. Their imperfections and failures were very clear! Yet the final verdict on their lives is often positive such as Samson, and even Abraham who failed many times, but was still seen as man of faith. Look at the people in the Hebrews Hall of Fame. cf. Hebrews 11.
In fact, when we go way back to the very beginning, what do we see? The Creator made man, then woman. His comment regarding them was that as male and female, they showed the world God’s image. Each evening, He came and spent time with them for the relationship. It wasn’t because He needed it!
Does GOD really Need a Relationship with Us?
He already had a complete and perfect relationship in the Trinity with the Son and Holy Spirit! And I really don’t understand that…at all! He had no needs because He was complete. He was holy and perfect so there was no sense of longing for something better; envy or covetousness was not part of his agenda.
So why would He desire a relationship with these humans He had just created? Certainly not because of any need or lack on His part! I’m guessing it had much more to do with us and what we needed. We need the relationship with GOD!
If we read through the Old Testament from God’s perspective: wanting relationship with the humans He created, contrasted with their rush in the opposite direction in rebellion against Him toward what they want to do, on their own terms! (As told in Romans 3:10-12.) Even the very people chosen to be God’s “people” rebelled over and over. (cf. John 1:12)
How could GOD make a Relationship with us out of this Mess?
It is difficult to have a relationship with people who are running away from you…difficult as in IMPOSSIBLE!
Tune in for our next post that will complete this discussion on relationships and especially more about relationships with each other.
There is only ONE Perfect Relationship
rewritten and updated 6/26/12. originally published 7/25/11