Relationships not only connect us, they change us.
When I look back at my life, everything significant is connected to a relationship. The death of a friend that pushed me on a different track, the ending of a relationship, the beginning of a new one. Parents, grandparents, classmates, teachers, mentors. My marriage, my children. Bosses and pastors. All of these relationships have changed who I am to varying degrees. Some hold more significant spaces in my life, but all have made an impact.
It should come as no surprise that God chose to reach out to humanity in relationships. Knowing Him as a personal God has drastically altered my life. It is the most defining relationship us humans can have. If we are so designed and defined…through relationship with Him, then naturally we are designed to reach out into relationships with others.
Isn’t that what the church is for? What we are all made for? We live in families, in communities, we build friendships, we lean on coworkers and partners to get the work done.
Because of this, the tragedy is all the more devastating when relationships break down. Our greatest grieves and struggles can often be found in a broken relationship. Imagine your life if you never even had any positive relationships at all?
So many of our clients come to us missing this piece. When we look into the dusty closets of addiction, and poverty, of abandonment, and abuse we find mangled relationships. We find twisted families or perhaps no families at all. Sometimes we see a mirror into our own lives and when we see the hurt that can come from failed relationships we can find a place to connect.
We don’t have all the answers to magically fix addictions, or heal the scars of abuse. We can’t make generational poverty disappear, or construct all that needs to be constructed to put a roof over the head of someone who has no home.
But we can touch someone on the shoulder. We can sit together, share a meal, we can laugh, and we can cry. We can say “you are not alone” and “I’m listening.” And we can really listen. We can give up what’s easy and choose to enter into the pain and complication that wraps around our friends. We can promise not to give up. And we can pray.
We can have a real relationship. Not a project, not an agenda, and not a program. The truth is all of those things provide framework ,and we need to do our best to provide that, but they don’t fix the real problem. We can design the best environment for change to happen, but we can’t leave it like that. We have to get in there with people and really hear, and really care, and really love them. We have to share with them the one relationship that will change them forever.
By the grace of God, sometimes we get to be the ones that introduce someone to Him. He’s the one that makes the difference, that fixes our collective brokenness. He’s the one that pulls us close, connects us to each other, and heals all of our wounds.
Lord, gives us the eyes to see and the ears to hear. Slow us down, speak to us, show us where you want us to connect.