The one thing we need in our relationships.
I decided to write about relationships this week. Romantic or plutonic, it doesn’t matter; there are two things we need to have if we want people in our lives that we can truly depend on. One of those things is the most important but I decided to do two points because all of these are intermingled. Over the past year I’ve completely redefined what relationships mean and represent in my life. I used to have a wide circle, large network of friends or so I thought until I really needed them and reached out and lo and behold, they were nowhere to be found. I like to misspell the word “relationship” with the word “REALationship.” These are people who are more than a Twiter or Facebook profile pic, they are more than an acquaintance that you run into every once in a while. They are real and authentic and most of all present. They are with you. Which brings me to my first point…
1. Have your back.
I remember when I was planting my first church and I needed money, a lot of money. I reached out to so many “ministry friends” and it was like everybody just forgot my name and my number. Then when things fell apart in my personal life, I reached out and it was like a ghost town. Everybody who said I’d do great church planting and said they loved me (keyword, SAID) where gone! They said, “I have your back.” Yeah they had my back, they were so far behind me I couldn’t see them! Please understand, I’m not a victim and I’m not complaining, I’m just sharing my experience and hopefully you can learn from it as well. Unfortunately we won’t know who really has our backs until we need them. I’m careful who I commit myself to these days because when I’m in, I’m all in. Being naive has been a bit of a weakness in my life because I just truly believe in people. I guess I’ll continue to do so but at some point we have to allow people to prove themselves. If they have our back, they’ll be there.
2. Love you.
I wrote about love a few weeks ago and again here as well, but I think it deserves to be continued upon. I’ve recently started Bob Goff’s book “Love Does” and it captivated me. One particular thought is that “I am with you.” If you’ve read the book, Bob talks about the friend that stuck with him in his late teens and decided that no matter what Bob wanted to do on his journey, he was with him. He stuck with him even when it seemed like a bad decision. This is what I mean by “love you.” I’ve had a lot of people say they love me and I’m sure you have too. The problem with this is that love isn’t a sentiment. Most people like the idea of loving you or me but when it comes to actually doing something about it, they come up impotent or even worse, anti-love. The people who love me in my life these days are actually walking that love out and it’s far from the wide circle of “ministry friends” I supposedly had. I’m not whining or complaining, but simply saying that if someone is to be a true relationship in our life and they say they love us, then they better be able to back it up according to the biblical definition of love.
So in conclusion, the one thing we need in our relationships is love. Love is the key ingredient. Love is with you, it doesn’t abandon you because of a bad decision. Love stays with you, just like Jesus. I find it interesting that even in the Great Commission, Jesus left us with the promise of never being abandoned.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. -Matthew 28:20b
This is also why I think John wrote that God is love…
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. -John 4:17-18 The Message
Love doesn’t replace God theologically but when we live in love we are portraying Who God is towards mankind. This is probably what has frustrated me the most with the institutional church and it’s leaders. I’m not ready to pull the plug and let the baby go out with the bath water because I’ve met many church leaders who truly do love. I aim to be one of those leaders and I hope you will too.
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Please leave your thoughts if you feel led and let’s continue the conversation! May God bless you!
Loved this. When I had to sell my car months ago…(and have yet to afford a new one)–I discovered how many friends I really had. (I had more than I thought!) When I had/have to get a ride to my church singles/social group–I found out I have some really great friends.
And ya know…I get to know these friends better during “car conversations” on our ride there and back to my home. It’s really wonderful when we figure these things out in what we as humans assume are “bad times”; always then God is doing something we didn’t expect.
So good Cynthia! Friends are there when you need them. Your story speaks about the grace and sovereignty of God. Those car conversations may have gone farther than you think!
Yes I feel led well. I need a REALationship. Wonder how to get it. Realationships are slipping away fast.
Good word. My mom always said, if you get one true friend in your life, you’ve got something. The only thing you didn’t speak on… the Bible says love not only in word, but in deed. Love is an action word. It takes action to prove we love someone. God created us for love. To be loved and be love. Humans crave it. But you have to know how to love yourself before you can love others. God bless you Ashley!