Jesus tells us that the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all our being and doing, and the second which is like it is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Love is not just something good we do to another even out of a good attitude toward them, though that’s good as well. Love involves relationships.
Relationships are not easy. For one thing they end up invariably being messy. If you want a completely clean, trouble free existence, then you would have to avoid any relationship at all. The problem with that, though, is that we are made for relationships. We read that in Genesis when God says of Adam, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” This need Adam had was for one who could help him, but who also would bring companionship into his life. Of course all of this works both ways. We humans are social beings. It is true that some may be more so than others. There is some truth in the tags, extrovert and introvert. But every last one of us needs another. And we need love and companionship.
Relationships involve commitment. Jesus’ words cited above are more than just a suggestion. We could say they are a loving directive. But literally speaking, the words are in imperative mode. In other words it is a command. That is a basic, essential part of what church is all about. We’re in this all together, in Jesus. And therefore, whether we feel like it, or are so inclined or not, we need to reach out in love to others. We want to give to them from our hearts, but we also want to be open to receiving. We need them as much as they need us. And sometimes, more.
And this starts in our relationship with God through Jesus. God is a person too, and is therefore personal. Relationship is part of who God is as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And through Jesus, God brings us into that relationship, through faith. A relationship with God, and with each other.
What keeps us from good relationships? Do we screen ourselves off, and therefore miss out on relationships? What is holding us back from growing in relationships, both with God and with others?