this post can also be found at www.wreckedfortheordinary.com
I was having a conversation today with some good, old friends. Because when you’re about to turn 40 that’s what you have… good, old friends. Much of the dialogue revolved around the difficulty of relationships between believers, even within the same church. Why are relationships hard? This is not even close to being exhaustive but here are the first four thoughts that come to my mind:
1. Because our identity is wrapped up in what others think. That’s a problem. Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap.”
2. Because we assume that our spiritual experience(s) is the normal and even preferred path to truth, freedom, growth, etc… What I’ve found is that there is incredible diversity among believers regarding how they came to know what it is that they know. It’s one of the reasons I would guess that Paul wrote in Philippians 2:12 – “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Each person must work out their salvation. God works in unique ways with each of us. (It’s worth noting that this scripture gets taken out of context a lot. I can’t amplify here though. Do some research on it and see what you think)
3. Because relationships are so worthwhile and you can’t have the ‘worthwhileness’ without the ‘difficutlness’. (Yes, I like to make up my own words.) It’s like trying to raise children without experiencing any pain. It’s not possible. If you love your children you will experience pain on some level.
4. Because we each have our own set of filters, perspectives, opinions, baggage, dysfunction, sin, learned helplessness, blaming tendencies, bad habits, unrealistic expectations, etc… that make it almost impossible for good relationships to ever happen in the first place!
Regardless of reasons why, one thing I am sure of is that God uses relational conflict to build character in our lives or as Ralph Waldo Emerson puts it, “God builds his temple in the heart on the ruins of churches and religions.” Sometimes there are no resolutions. Sometimes the pain never really goes away. But it’s in these ‘ruins’ that Gods help is most powerful and re-creative.