The last couple of evenings have been great because we’ve shared meals with good friends. These are the type of friends who we have shared our lives with over the past few years. We laugh together and support one another when we’re going through difficult times. Life can be hard sometimes, so it’s important to be in close relationships with friends who will support us, pray with us, laugh with us, cry with us, and dream with us… in short, to love us.
God designed us to be relational. He designed us to be in meaningful relationships with God, with friends and family, and with many different kinds of people in the world. It’s almost as if every person who we come into contact with is a divine appointment. As C.S. Lewis pointed out, we are all eternal beings. When we meet someone, we are not talking to a mere mortal. We are talking to someone who is going to live forever, either with God or separated from God. That is why we should have a sense of authenticity and care when we build relationships with people. God cares, and so we should care. That holds true whether we meet a Wall Street banker or a Honduran orphan. God is love, and we should demonstrate love to everyone we meet. Everyone should look at us and see Christ in us, but too often people in relationship with us look at us and see anger, gossip, slander, fear, anxiety, self-promotion, busyness, distraction, depression, or carelessness.
The Journeymen are all about challenging one another to live the full Christian life that God has in store for us. It is the narrow path in life, so we must come along side one another and encourage one another to find and stay on the path. The challenge for this week, then, is to focus on relationships. Let’s do a status check. How are things going with our relationship with God? Are we deeply, intimately connecting with our Creator and Father, or do we feel distant from God? If married, how is the relationship with the wife? Does she feel treasured and loved because we as husbands are so intimately engaged on a heart level with her, or are we distracted, distant, and cold? How about our children? Good friends and extended family? When was the last time we got together and shared some good quality time with our friends or relatives? How will we respond when we meet new people this week? Like a busy, distracted jerk, or like we are having a divine encounter with an eternal being who God made, loves, and cherishes? And how about our enemies? Will we continue to harbour anger, resentment, and bitterness against them, or will we love our enemies as Christ requires us to do? That may be one of the most difficult things to do in life, but it can also be very rewarding when God honors that love by reconciling relationships that we thought were destroyed and painful. God is love, and he wants to communicate that concept to the world through his Church. We cannot demonstrate God’s love if we are unwilling to love others well.