Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Relating in Healthy Ways

You can read the first part over here.

If you doubt that the world sees Christians primarily as users, just take a poll among non-Christians about what they find unattractive about Christian churches. The most often stated dislike I have found is along the lines of, “All they want is your money,” or, “They just want you to work for them.” Our inability to relate in healthy, caring ways has produced a powerfully negative testimony for our Lord before the world. We may fool ourselves about what we are about in relationships, but the truth is quite clear to the world.

Our user mentality is not much different from the world’s approach to relations. This is probably why our motivations are so transparent to the world. This mentality does not arise from our wickedness, but from the baggage we bring with us from the world into Christianity. We first learned how to relate in the flesh. The flesh is hopelessly self-centered, so it is natural that we start out with a user mentality in relationship. Once we are born-again, we must be retaught by our Father about how to have healthy, loving, and giving relationships. God desires to teach us, but if the lesson is to be effective, we must be willing to receive the teaching.

Without a proper understanding of our true relationship with God, we cannot maintain healthy motivation. We are doing for ourselves when we attempt to do works for God that are not motivated by obedience. It is self-centered to do anything that is motivated by our desire to work our way into God’s favor. When we become consumed in this way to accomplish a particular task, we use each other.

We need to do such an examination to get rid of our misconceptions about the relationships we have and what relationships we should have. By our physical nature, we are limited as to the number of deep relationships we can have at any given time. We need to stop feeling we are relational failures if we are not deeply involved with every person passing through our life. It is important to see that relationship is another surrender issue. We can only have healthy relationship with the people with whom God would have us have relationship. This surrender must include every aspect of our relationships. This includes not only who, but also the kind of relationship, the duration the Father wants, and the depth that God wants.

The issue of relationship is important not only for the deepening of our ability to love each other, but for the deepening of our relationship with God, our Father. It is with God that our schooling about relationship really begins. If we attempt to get our primary relational understanding from men, we will only learn to relate like men do. We must first have a relationship with God before we have any hope of having relationships with one another. As we grow throughout our lives, our relationships with each other grow as our relationship with God grows. It is only from God, the original giver that we can have receive the resource by which we can have giving relationships.
After all, the only love that can flow unrestricted and unconditionally from us must first flow into us in this same way from God.

Rich

3 comments:

findservelove said...

SO true. We can only love others when we know His love for us. It's become a joyful journey for me and others are noticing how He is changing me. Cool.

Amy said...

Rick,

"It is important to see that relationship is another surrender issue. We can only have healthy relationship with the people with whom God would have us have relationship. This surrender must include every aspect of our relationships. This includes not only who, but also the kind of relationship, the duration the Father wants, and the depth that God wants." -Rick

"The issue of relationship is important not only for the deepening of our ability to love each other, but for the deepening of our relationship with God, our Father. It is with God that our schooling about relationship really begins. If we attempt to get our primary relational understanding from men, we will only learn to relate like men do. We must first have a relationship with God before we have any hope of having relationships with one another." -Rick

Amen, and amen! Excellent stuff, Rick!

Blessings,
~Amy :)
http://amyiswalkinginthespirit.blogspot.com

Free Spirit said...

May we experience His wisdom in our choosing with whom, and for how long, and how deep our relationships should be.

Sometimes, very GOOD people are not right to be in relationship with, at a given time.

Great words, Rich, once again!