The physical life of Adam and Eve does not stop in the instant they taste the fruit: this isn’t the poison apple of the fairy tale. But something in them and between them does die. Their sense of themselves and their relationship with each other is shatterd. And (what is even far worse) their relationship with the Lord God is also broken: they hide from Him in fear and shame.Book: The Drama of Scripture
We were created to have an intimate relationship with God and committed relationships with one and another. But all of that was shattered and broken after sin entered the world. So, now we are left with the broken pieces of what used to be whole and perfect.
Relationships don’t have the same meaning today as it did when it was created. The reason for that is that ‘love’ which is the foundation of every relationship, broke with everything else when sin entered the world. Let me explain.
The world today portraits love as a feeling, it connects love with emotions. The problem with that is that our feelings and emotions are forever changing depending on the circumstances of our lives. That would mean that we can change/leave any relationship in which our feelings have changed.
Deep down, we all long for a deep and meaningful relationship, a connection that is like no other, which makes us feel known. But, wouldn’t this kind of love leave us in an everlasting chase of a fulfilling relationship? and wouldn’t that leave us empty until we can make that connection? (recommendation on this topic is the book: “the right fight” by John Kennedy Vaughan).
I have had friendships and a romantic relationship, my love for those I had a relationship with at the time suffered under this definition of love without me even realizing it. I only realized how wrong my old ways where after I came to know the true definition of love.
The Bible teaches us that love is: 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
A example of a worldly relationship and a Godly relationship in my life:
I had a friend who I met at the age of 11. Her father was friends with my father, therefore her mother became good friends with my mother, her little brother became friends with my little brother and we also became very good friends. We didn’t have a lot in common, but as kids, you don’t look at those things. It was enough that our parents were friends. We stayed good friends even after I moved to a different country. We kept contact and visited each other now and then.
To fast forward a long story, along the way, selfishness, self-centeredness, un-met expectation grew, arguments, distrust brought by a boyfriend, pain, and hurt had been part of our relationship. Which is “normal” right? Every real relationship goes through these things, but it’s the way we deal with them that defines the relationship. We dealt with situations like everyone else. We would talk about some things, or not talk about them at all and just move on, or the one would ignore the other… and so on. We never took the time to think about the meaning of our friendship and took it for granted.
It’s important to know that during most of our friendship relationship I was a non-practicing ‘Muslim’ and she was a non-practicing Christian. It was only in the last 1-2 years of our relationship we both started persuing a serious Christian life. After 14 years of friendship, we both felt like we had fought the good fight to keep the relationship going. We ended up ending our friendship, and looking back on it, it ended because of pure self-centeredness.
Even though we felt like we fought for the relationship, it was only up to what we could accept from one and another. Everything about it was based on what we could give and get, and the moment we didn’t get what we believed the other should give/do, it all came to an end.
One day a young man came to my old church service on a Wednesday. Wednesday was the prayer meeting. The young man wanted to sit on a chair, but during our prayer meetings, we don’t use any chairs, to motivate people to get out of there comfort zone and be active during prayer.
Because He wasn’t allowed to use a chair, He ended up sitting on the ground, with his knees up to his chest and his arm folded around his knees, during the entire prayer meeting, staring into nothingness. I felt bad for him during the prayer and kept thinking of him, days or maybe weeks after that day. I couldn’t understand how someone could be in the presence of God and have no interest at all.
A long story short, I ended up contacting the young man and made it my mission to show him the glimpse of God’s love for him, through me. I soon found out that talking about God and his goodness, wasn’t going to get me anywhere with him, so I decided to love him for who he was and be his friend without any judgment, and without forcing God on him.
It wasn’t nearly as easy as I thought it would be. It took me a lot of patience to kindly and lovingly answer his questions. In many cases, he would already have set his mind on a certain answer, but he asked them anyway to see what I would say.
Also in that time, I was very focused on myself and my growth in Christ. But now, I had to make time to answer his messages and participate in activities with him, such as going to bookshops and getting some Christian books, watch a movie, go to restaurants, etc. I did enjoy doing these things together, but I had to make some sacrifices on time because now I couldn’t focus on myself as much.
In the end, we got very close. I saw him growing in his knowledge of God, Jesus Christ, and Christians. His whole attitude towards God started to change. He started to go to church every Sunday, listened to online sermons, took notes on them, and actually read his bible. This was a young man who had seen God’s people behave in ways that were no different than worldly people (none Christians) and for that reason said goodbye to everything concerning the church. I was blown away by this result in just 7 months.
There are 4 types of love:
- Storage = Family love
- Philia = Friendship love
- Eros = Romantic/sexual love
- Agape = Selfless love
As Christians, we are not called to a self-centered, non-committing, non-sacrificial love, but we are called to Agape love, a selfless love (as described in 1 Corinthians 13). The relationship I dealt with the worldly way, the “normal” way ended up hurting me and the other, while the relationship I dealt with the Godly way, wasn’t half as easy but ended up helping me in my growth and I also gained a life long friendship.
I don’t think there is such a thing as a broken relationship. I think it’s broken people. Relationships don’t break themselves. When we are in a relationship with one and another, our imperfections impact people other than ourselves. That’s the risk in relationships, it’s a blessing and a burden at the same time. The fact that you get all the good things about the other is a blessing, but you also get all the broken parts along with it.Dharius Daniels
Healing from painful relationships
If you are anything like me, you probably have gone through some rough relationship, that has left you with fear and distrust towards the love of humanity. This past week, I have been wondering how we heal from this pain? Because it is something that we need healing from. A broken heart can’t love another broken heart.
There is a book(searching for God knows what) I recently finished reading that was able to help me a little in my process of healing from painful relationships. The things I read weren’t new, but they definitely touched me differently.
“We are to give Christ everything, our false redemption in the things of the world, our false idea of who God is, all our trust in something other than God to redeem us. In doing so, we die to our broken natures in exchange for His perfect nature, and find a unification with Him that will allow God to see us as one, just as a husband is one with a wife.”
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”Matthew 22: 37 – 38
When we get into a relationship with God, we don’t automatically love Him with all our hearts, souls, and minds. AND THAT IS OKAY! when I started desiring Christ as a Christian, I thought I had to get rid of all the things that might block me from loving and following Him. Which is the right thing to do, but I was never meant to do it by my strength alone. I was supposed to lay them down at the feet of the cross, at Jesus’s feet.
The Spirit of God is who makes us Holy. It is Him who leads us into righteousness, not for our sake, but for the sake of God.
It is with this mindset that we are to engage in a relationship with one and another. Realizing our broken natures, but also being aware of God’s loving grace and goodness in our lives. Just like our relationship with God is a process, our relationship with each other is also a process. There are different stages of love, and that is okay. We should learn to embrace them. Because ultimately love is a commitment you make first and then follow with loving actions.
Jesus Christ came to redeem broken individuals, people, back to God, this is why His teachings are so important, it is why it’s so important to know God, and what He has to say to us through Jesus Christ. There are so many people today, claiming to not want anything to do with God because they feel like they already know enough about Him, by scooping Him over to the same side as his followers. But they forget, that even His followers are humans first. None of us is perfect, but all of us should try our best to make progress every day, and that’s enough for God. Make progress towards seeking Him, He will welcome you with a open arm because of the Salvation we have received through the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t die only for those who believe, but for the whole world. Will you receive His love and salvation today?
It is the love you give, that you receive