Monday, June 2, 2008

It shouldn’t look like that…the problem with Christian relationships

I was running with a friend last night. For some odd reason, while we are running, is the time when we catch up on things. So I’ve acquired this really cool skill of being able to run and talk without being short of breath. Besides being able to just connect and encourage one another I also get the perk of building up my respiratory habits. So I ask how their dating life is and they respond with good, but something weird happened the other night. So I inquire as to what and how. Apparently they asked if they could kiss the other person and got rejected. They said they felt rejected when it happened and got kind of mad and then things turned awkward. So I asked them to tell me the story again so I could tell them what I heard. I tried to kiss them and they said no, I felt mad because it felt like I should do it, to which I respond that is an expectation you placed on the relationship. Then they felt mad and the situation became awkward, I called that out to be pride because they felt hurt by the rejection that was simple just the other person following their conviction instead of their emotions. This is when I began thinking about all the inter-personal and dating relationships I had heard about and been involved in and was struck with one thought…

The problem with Christian relationships is that they look too much like the world’s. We react in these things like our flesh wants us to, out of an emotional response. There is beauty in emotions, God gave them to us, so they are a gift. The problem is that the world relies on emotions. Look at Hollywood, boy meets girl on set, they start flirting, everything seems great, they are both floating on cloud nine, they have sex, start dating, decide to move in together, and then the next emotional level they think they can arrive to, the pinnacle of all emotional levels if you will, is marriage. They get married and find out that he leaves the toilet seat up and that she rearranges his desk when he’s gone. The emotions come to rest and they deal with reality, two different people with different habits, personalities, and things that make them tick, and recognize that the emotions are no longer there at that particular moment and so they quite, and then we have another divorce to just add to an ever increasing, pathetic, American statistic.

Christians act just like this in our relationships don’t we? We react to an emotional stimulus. We react to the things of this world, the flesh and blood. The Bible says that it is not flesh and blood that we struggle with, it is spiritual things (Ephesians 6:12). How quickly we forget that. We think that it only affects us in big areas like our walk with Christ, the amount of church gatherings we go to or things we classify specifically as spiritual. The problem with that of course, is that everything is spiritual. If you haven’t seen Rob Bell’s DVD of the Everything Is Spiritual tour, take about an hour and a half and sit down to watch it, fascinating stuff. So we forget that it is not the worldly things we fight against and react to these stimuli in a worldly manner, just like everyone else would. But then that lends itself to us forgetting the truth that Jesus told us we are to reborn, no longer of this world, living out of a new Spirit. So here’s the test really, look at your friendships, family relationships, dating relationship, marriage, does it look just like any other relationship or is there that one huge difference, the Spirit, which leads you to react differently to things that are merely flesh and blood.

So may you always live in the Spirit instead of the moment, emotions are an unstable, they cannot be the foundation on which we base our relationships on, it must be the Lord.

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