Relationships are the fuel of life. They bring out the very best and the very worst of who we are. Relationships are a gift that can give beauty, meaning, and purpose. But they can also be a weapon to hurt and damage our souls. Relationships bring joy and sorrow, healing and pain, hope and despair, fulfillment and emptiness, gain and loss. Why is it like this? How can the same thing be so good and awful, a blessing or a curse?
The answer is not that complicated. Relationships that are lived with God’s care and love at the center become the richest of blessings. Life lived this way is consistent with the reality that all people are made in the image of God. God, in three Persons, has eternally existed in the ultimate relationship. Because God is the Triune God he is the definition of what is a perfect relationship. When God made man he also wrote the book on relationships: the Bible.
The Bible is the story of how to do relationships; first with God and then with people. Following God’s gracious direction is how relationships become the most valuable and precious of all human endeavors. Love, trust, happiness, sacrifice, joy, contentment, peace, and so many other things flow from relationships that seek to honor God. Relationships lived this way are a beautiful work of art testifying to the excellence of a loving God. Jesus tells us connects us relationally to himself when he says:
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
He laid down his life for us. He is our example in relationships. We don’t do relationships for ourselves. We do relationships to love God and love other people. This is what makes relationships such a huge blessing.
When relationships are done for personal gain they become a curse. Relationships focused on our needs turns us from givers into users. Jesus’ life defined love as an act of giving. Living life for yourself makes you a user and a taker. This makes a relationship a weapon for heartbreak and destruction.
Look carefully at the relationships your children engage in. Are they users or givers? Do they see the purpose of relationships to serve their wants and desires or do they see relationships as opportunities to love God and their neighbors? Use these observations to learn how children do relationships. The way they do relationships is the way they will do life. Model for your children the life that Jesus lived for you.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Help your children to see the beauty of relationships lived the way God has directed. Help your children to embrace the blessing of relationships lived for the honor and glory of God.