Created for Relationships
We were created for relationships. They are not optional. Our lives are spent around and within relationships: children are in a relationship with parents, maybe even siblings; students are in a relationship with teachers and fellow students; employees are in a relationship with bosses and co-workers. We develop close friendships and someday may find someone with which we will fall deeply in love. As we age, we discover the undeniable truth that everything important in life revolves around relationships.
Relationships have their beginning in the Bible. In Relationships That Work (And Those That Don’t), H. Norman Wright points out after the Creation story, God made man for relationship with Himself. Then, according to Genesis 2:18 after God made man, He proclaimed: “It’s not good for the man to be alone” and made him a “helper” to be with him. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 states, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” God’s Word repeatedly declares humanity was designed for relationships.
In his best-selling book, The DNA of Relationships, Dr. Gary Smalley describes three meaningful relationships we all have: (1) with ourselves, (2) with God, and (3) with others. Let’s first look at the relationship we have with ourselves. Answer the following questions as honestly as you can: do you have a healthy relationship with yourself? Do you view your life as important? Can you forgive and accept yourself? Do you take personal care of you? People who can answer “yes” to these questions are able to deal better with other relationships in their life. They also strive earnestly to take better care of their bodies and minds. When you are able to understand how you act around others, you can better understand the effect of your own actions. In the story of Adam and Eve, they disobeyed God and then tried to blame their actions on others. When we are genuine and sincere, we can better trust ourselves and be willing to change what needs to be changed about us. Our relationship with ourselves is addressed first because other relationships will not blossom until we take responsibility for ourselves.
The second meaningful relationship we have is with God. In the age we live with anti-Christ attitudes and atheistic mindsets, we must realize we all have a relationship with God whether desired or not. Those who don’t believe in God still have a relationship with Him—one that is very dysfunctional! Exodus 34:14 calls God jealous and commands us not to worship any other God. We were created to have a relationship with Him. When your relationship with God is healthy and strong, you are able to see yourself through His eyes, which will result in a better internal relationship with oneself and external relationships with others.
The third meaningful relationship we have—and the one to which we give the most attention—is our relationship with others. Such relationships can be strong, encouraging, and exciting, or painful, frustrating, and disappointing. These relationships are with family members, friends, and romantic interests with the opposite sex. When you have a healthy relationship with God and yourself, healthy relationships with others breed security, safety, and enjoyment. However, individuals who are distant from God and can’t face themselves will have shallow relationships with others that won’t last long. All three of these key relationships in our lives are intricately connected and influence the kind of people we become.
It is important to remember we don’t get to choose if we will participate in relationships, but we do determine how we will handle them. Will you help or hinder the relationships that come your way? In the upcoming months, this column will take a look at the many different kinds of relationships (personal, spiritual, friendly, and romantic) that impact us as teens and young adults in the twenty-first century. Dr. Gary Smalley says it best: “Life is relationships; the rest is just details.”
Chad Flowers is married to his best friend and teammate, Mendy. He’s a daddy to two incredible little girls, Jadyn & Keira, and he lives in Mesquite, Texas where he has a private practice as a licensed professional counselor and serves as pastor of Emmanuel Pentecostal Church.