Thursday, July 12, 2012
A personal relationship
I hear this phrase being thrown around a lot. It's very interesting to see how that people use it to mean something a bit different than what it really says. A personal relationship simply means a relationship between two people. All relationships are personal relationships, no matter how many people are involved. But that isn't how it is being used. I find it is being used to say "My relationship is with God, not with you." I find it is being used to say I don't need to agree with you, or with the Bible, or with anything that anyone else believes; only with God.
There is a problem with that logic though, because God is not just a personal God, but a communal God. Let me try to give an example from my own life that will show what I mean. Back before my wife and I ever started dating we had a circle of friends, and then we had our 'own' friends. Our personal friends. Now one of those friends, a female friend of mine, decided that she did not like my wife to be. As far as I know my wife never did anything to her, but regardless of the story in the background, suffice it to say that this lady didn't like the woman I was marrying.
Now that's fine. She doesn't have to like her, but this is my wife we are talking about. As a Christian I am to love my wife as Christ loves the church. This 'friend' of mine decided to inform me that I could still hang out with her, but I couldn't bring my wife. That I could come visit her alone, but never with my family. There is a problem with that. I am part of that family. That is my wife. Those are my children. They come with me. They are a part of me. You don't want my wife around? Then I won't be around either.
Maybe that seems cold. Maybe. I am human after all. How can I say though that I love my wife, if I am willing to go hang out with someone who can't stand her, who bad mouths her, and simply choose that friendship over defending my wife. We cannot. Anytime we allow someone to demean someone in our presence that we love, and do not stand up for them, then we cannot say we truly love them. And oh how many times in our lives we have done just that?
So back to the topic at hand, a personal relationship. How can one claim to love Jesus, but not His body, the church? It's the exact same thing as saying to a husband, you can come but don't bring your wife... they are one person after all. (Ephesians 5:31) The same with Jesus. You cannot divorce his body, and then claim to love him. You cannot take part of him, you must take all of him, body and soul, blood and divinity. Christianity is not a singular relationship between only you and God, but it's a family. That's what a covenant bond is.
You are part of the Family. That means you spend time with them, even if you don't like them. Our society is slowly eroding the family unit, the family structure in general. In the case of our spiritual family, we cannot simply walk away and pretend they are no longer one of us. God is who determines who is in our family and who isn't. It's not our job to do that. It's our job to live up to that family obligation. To love one another. To serve one another. To have a personal relationship not just with God, but with each other!
His servant and yours;