With the possible except of psychopaths or sociopaths, people desperately need relationships with other people. Relationships are one of our most basic needs.
The unconditional love of a husband for his wife or a parent for his child. The friendship of two schoolmates. The mutual respect of coworkers. There are many different types and levels of relationships, and all are important to us.
Although we can and do have group-based relationships, we won’t deal with those in this discussion—just those that are one-on-one. Most interpersonal relationships in this world are simple and straightforward. Two men enjoy playing gold together and build a relationship around the golf course. The relationship is a street between the two of them.
A boy gives a girl a Valentine, and she fall head over heels in love with him. Again, the relationship is a street between the two of them. Likewise a relationship we have with a teacher or boss or student or employee. In this world, these relationships are pretty much a straight street between the two parties involved.
Actually, the unconditional love mentioned above is pretty difficult to maintain in this world. A mother’s love for her children would come pretty close, but there are mothers who give up on their children—or even turn against them—although that’s pretty rare. With most other relationships, however, unconditional is a state that’s pretty difficult to reach and maintain.
The courts are filled with divorce cases. Most of these couples entered into marriage with every intention of staying together “. . . till death do us part.” Unconditional love. But somewhere along the way, one party did something the other just couldn’t take. Or maybe each did something the other couldn’t take. Then the lawyers came in.
Christians, however, have a strength available to them that the rest of the world lacks. We don’t use it perfectly, and because of that some of us end up in divorces, broken business partnerships and so forth, but it is available to us if we’ll appropriate it.
That strength is the vertical relationship. The Holy Spirit reroutes that street which runs directly from one party to the other so that it runs from each party to God and then back to the other party. All relationships among Christians run through God from one person to the other. Thus God can filter that relationship through His love.
Sadly, we as individual Christians can frustrate this process. God always gives us the free will to submit ourselves to Him or not. If we want to live our lives out of submission to Him, our relationships will be those of the world, running straight from us to another individual and lacking in power.
If we submit ourselves to Him and let our relationships run through Him, however, we avail ourselves of much power. He will pour His love over each of us and into each of us and through each of us to the other so thoroughly that our relationships are drenched in the power of His love. And that’s a power this world and its circumstances can’t overcome.
Yes, I realize Christians get divorced and that Christians sever relationships and break up partnerships. We’re still human. We’re not perfect, but the good news is that we are being perfected. God has undertaken a life-long project in me and in you to perfect us into the image of His Son. The more we submit ourselves to Him the faster that project can move along.
The vertical relationship is part of what we can take advantage of by submitting ourselves to Him. We’ll never be perfect at it, but the freer our submission, the more benefit we can receive from that vertical relationship.
Ø How could your relationship with someone you have problems with be improved by allowing it to run through God and letting Him cover it with His love?
Ø How could your relationship with your spouse or children or parents or siblings be strengthened by basing it on His love for each of you instead of your love for each other?
If you liked this, please comment and repost link on FB or Twitter.