I just feel like writing tonight. What do I want to write about? Let's dig up some thoughts that are rolling around up here.
Number one, our relationship with God and how we perceive him to be is reflected in our relationships with others and how we perceive them to be. This is an intersting concept for me. A very wise woman challenged me with that belief recently. I haven't yet processed whether or not there is Biblical foundation for that, but my guess is that there is probably a lot of truth to it. It is interesting as I hear all these relational therapy theories about family systems, differentiation, triangulation, pursuer/distancer, attachment, life narratives... They are all intersting. Some seem more reflective of reality than others. Some seem to fit some situations better than others. Some are just weird. What I have been noticing lately, is that many of the good principles in these theories were taught by Christ, taught to the church in the epistles, or spoken by God himself directly to people in the psalms, through prophecies and visions and words. And he continues to speak them to my heart. Wisdom that people from all ages have "discovered" in many different ways. For me, it seems things always come back to God, and it's hard to try to even think differently at all.
I don't know that if my relationship with God is right I will automatically have right relationships with people, but it definitely makes me more able to. For one, God is perfect, so the only one messing up in that relationship is me. Lol. He really does love perfectly, forgive perfectly, is completely faithful and and always wise. No one I am in relationship with, or ever will be in relationship with, is, and neither, of course, am I. But as I receive God's perfect love, and learn what it means to trust and believe and receive and give and rest, in him, I am learning what it means to love that way and trust that way and believe and receive and give and rest, with those who too are made in God's beautiful, amazing image. It's like a re-learning to love. A re-learning of what a pure relationship can be, through my relationship with God. If we are being transformed more and more into his likeness, we are being made increasingly able to be faithful the way he is faithful and to give the way he gives and to receive and love and rest, the way he does. That is amazing. He is transforming us. You and me. So that we can be his voice, his hands, his heart to the world. And we are being transformed together, learning together, loving together, and receiving from God through each other. Is there anything more beautiful than that?
So, as a therapeutic tool, I would say, "Where are my human relationships weak?" and in looking there I will likely find the area where my relationship with God is also weak. Or it could work vice-versa. If I do not trust God to forgive me, I probably will not be able to trust others to forgive me either. I'm thinking of that verse that says something to the effect of, "If you do not love people whom you can see, how will you love God whom you cannot see?" (forgive me for my poor quotation). The two greatest commandments are to love God and love others. Another passage says:
"We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." I John 3:14-16
And many other passages suggest that there is this link between loving God and loving people. The direction goes both ways. We are learning to love God by loving people and we are learning to love people by loving God and receiving His love. "We love because he first loved us." (I have another post in the works for this one coming shortly). This changes everything about how I view and am in relationships.
Number two, gratitude... I've realized I'm really bad at giving without desiring recognition or appreciation. I think I equate the latter two with love. So I feel like if I don't receive that, I'm not loved. That's ridiculous, but it's there nonetheless. I did something the other day for someone and was really upset at the fact that I didn't know if they knew it was me who had done it for them. I was trying to tell myself it didn't matter. The bible says to do good deeds with one hand in such a way that the other does not even know you are doing it. And yet, I wanted more than my hand to know! I wanted to prove my love, and by them not knowing, I was not able to. And that was torture. But... all that crappy stuff aside, it did get me to thinking how much God does that with me, and the billions of people in the world. EVERY DAY he is giving and giving and giving, and rarely do I look up to him and say, "Yes, you are the one who gave it to me. Without you I would be lost." And yet, he doesn't withhold it from me or become angry with me or feel unloved or insecure in my love because I don't thank him. He is the one who really does deserve to be thanked. I don't really give anything to anyone. It is God who gives through me. He does ask for our gratitude and yet ironically he is completely sufficient and satisfied without it. Does my ingratitude hurt him? Does my gratitude bring him joy? Does my response move him like that? I don't know, but I don't even want to risk something like that. I'll be damned (not in the literal sense) if I don't thank God for what he gives me.