Premises and Purposes
Warning: this post may seem pointless to some people, but this thought has really transformed my thinking on relationships. It also is a great way to begin this series in that it will define what the rest of the series will be discussing from a Biblical worldview.
Relationships are not meant to make us happy or to make us feel fulfilled. Those may be by-products of what they are meant to do (and hopefully they are), but their purpose is found outside the realm of our desires.
The need for relationships doesn’t come naturally to me. I remember people telling me as a teen that we need relationships: friends, mentors, family members or whoever. But I, being the annoying teen I was, had a “prove it” type personality.
If we really got down to the nitty-gritty details, life tends to make me think we don’t need very many relationships. People let us down ALL THE TIME. People also tend to lead us away or discourage us from where we want/need to be in life.
Even with the people that are easier to have relationships with, relationships are not for the weak or lazy. They take a lot of work! There are many things in life that practical people can find ways to take short cuts to save time, energy, money, and so on. But in relationships, you can’t really take short cuts. They take time, and lots of it. They take energy, and for introverts this type of energy is especially exhausting. They take money. They take patience. They take humility. People never seem to take the expected or planned route.
Relationships are also the most painful areas of life when they go wrong, whether it be losing someone you love, fighting, or being deserted.
All that to say, at a pretty young age, I kind of landed on a position that most relationships are not necessary, and on multiple occasions I cleaned out any difficult relationships that didn’t fit a mold for me.
That is all background to explain how easy it can be to give up on relationships, but a conclusion like that only makes sense if I’m acting on the premise that the point of relationships is meant to make me feel happy and fulfilled. As I’ve gotten older, I realize that premise is wrong, and therefore the conclusion is wrong. My reasoning started to change as I learned more about God and grew in a relationship with Him. He is not asking us to do something He hasn’t already done in the Trinity, creation, and the New Testament.
- God is one God, but He is 3 parts. Without getting too much into Theology here, in Genesis 1:26 and 3:22 He speaks about “us” referring to Himself. Later we find out that there are 3 parts as we meet and get to know each part: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and finally the Spirit living inside believers. The fact that God could have been just one God, but isn’t, made a huge impact on me when I started thinking about relationships. Through our relationships we are mimicking God, and therefore pointing others to Him and His glory.
- Creation is a point that I can make quickly. When God created the world, He created everything in pairs, and without pairs everything would have died off on earth really fast. Relationships in that sense were a part of His ultimate plan, and through His creation we can see His plan written out pretty clearly.
- The New Testament takes things we already know and goes deeper with them, and “relationships” is one of the biggest topics discussed in the New Testament. Take time to make a list of every verse that includes “one another” in it. The Bible has A LOT to say about how we treat one another. It also has some pretty big opinions on the right and wrong ways of going about relationships. Ultimately, relationships are only a part of God’s plan if they are done His way, which I am continuing to grow in and will be talking about more in further posts.
Like I said, this post may seem unnecessary to a lot of people who feel like they need relationships already and are ready to work on them as much as they need to be worked on, but I refuse to believe that I am the only person that came to a conclusion that I didn’t need relationships.
Also, we naturally expect relationships to bring us happiness and fulfillment. Relationships are rewarding, but only if they point others to Christ. Our happiness is a by-product. Relationships are fulfilling, because they fulfill God’s plan. Our feeling of fulfillment is a by-product. So for those days that relationships don’t make us happy, don’t feel fulfilling, or just don’t make sense, it is good to remember that the purpose of that relationship is found outside of our feelings. Relationships are meant to point others to Christ.
Learning about God’s view on relationships was a huge game changer for me in how I related with others. Maybe the amount of time and energy seemed like a waste at one point, but through God’s eyes relationships are why saving time and energy in other areas is so great, so we have more time and energy for what actually matters.