Today marks the beginning of another 12-week season of columns our writing group will put together. As we discussed themes for this season, the question arose, “Does faith make a difference in relationships?”
The obvious answer is “yes,” of course it does. Yet we humans, and even we Christian humans, get it wrong pretty often. For the next 11 weeks, we will explore the idea of God’s role in our relationships with other people.
The human condition. Shouldn’t we, as humans, be experts in the human condition? Dogs know how to best do dog things, cats, cat things (and dog things of course), and we … well, human things. Yet, that isn’t how it actually plays out in real life.
Men are from Mars, women from Venus. Winning friends and influencing people. We read the books and look for answers. Meanwhile, we fight with our spouses, our siblings, our parents, our coworkers, our kids and sometime the cat (but never the dog). We fight with ourselves. And we definitely wrestle with God.
Generally speaking, we humans don’t get it right because we aren’t God. We don’t get it right because we don’t involve God in our relationships with people. More than involving God, we don’t get it right because God is not the center of our relationships with people. Every relationship should not be an “A and B” conversation, but an “A, B, and big G (God)” conversation.
God calls us to be good to one another (and cats). God says in Ephesians 4:2-3, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” God not only tells us to be good to one another, but he tells us to be with one another, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
A more black-and-white interpretation would tell us that God makes himself crystal clear in these verses. God tells us to get along and to love each other. It is that simple. However, we cannot be perfect at this. We will never be perfect at it. We are human. We need God to fill the gaps for us. We need His guidance when it comes to conflict, forgiveness, differing personalities, hospitality and selfishness. We need Him to run the race for us when we’ve been cheated on, lied to, betrayed. We need Him to pinch hit when we are the ones cheating, lying, and betraying people.
Would you like to know the greatest plot twist of all? God made us like this. He made us human, not demigods, on purpose. He knew we wouldn’t be nice to each other, but He also knew the pain we caused one another was only going to bring us closer to Him. In Brene’ Brown’s new book, “Braving the Wilderness,” she says, “Hurt people hurt people.” Dear Lord, thank you for putting that profound statement in front of me. We do, don’t we? We hurt the heck out of people when or because we are hurt.
My prayer is that you stay tuned for the next 11 weeks (or forever) as we pray about, think about, and write about bringing God into our relationships here on Earth. We all have scars caused by humans, some visible and some more invisible. We’ve also all caused scars in others and done disastrous amounts of damage to ourselves. And it is okay. God will meet us there. Let’s journey together through this study on relationships, God, and ourselves. See you out there.
Chelsea Rosty, a Grand Junction native, is a Univ. of Wyoming alum in Marketing and Economics (to say nothing of being on the university Rodeo Team). She is director of business innovation for the City of Montrose. She serves on several local nonprofits and does Crossfit in addition to her duties as a wife and mother of one. She is active at Grace Community Church.