We live in a relationship reality; each day of our lives is shaped by it. Much of who we are – for better or worse – stems from a relationship, whether personal or interpersonal. The most important relationship, however, is our vertical one.
Our first relationship is with Divinity, God. Absent a relationship with a Higher Power, we are merely a mass of dangling human protoplasm. If there is no Higher Power than ourselves, then we automatically insert ourselves as a higher power. We have nothing to align ourselves with but ourselves – and that is a dangerous proposition.
A relationship with God is comprised of devotion, ritual, communion, worship, the sacred and study. It is the foundation upon which other relationships proceed, the relationship with ourselves, others and the wider community. When this relationship is properly aligned, the continuity of other relationships follows.
RELATIONSHIP WITH SELF
This is the relationship that is ultimately born of our relationship with God. This is where our innermost alignment happens; we become stronger within ourselves when we have a devotional, inspiring and disciplined relationship with a Higher Power. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. What we have within is a power, a seed of greatness that can only be nurtured when aligned with something bigger than who we are.
You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7)
A right relationship with self means we are attuned to our deepest yearnings; we are constantly engaging ourselves with thought-provoking questions. It’s an acceptance of who we are and who we are becoming and developing our lives with discipline and care. A right relationship with self embraces the good and the bad and understands that we are indeed a piece of heaven and a chunk of earth.
You cannot, however, love yourself without loving God.
RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHERS
Our horizontal relationships also stem from a relationship with God and with ourselves. If these two variables are absent, relationships get out of balance. When those variables are present, we proceed horizontally with a sense of non-judgmental compassion. It's important to note, too, that a vertical relationship with God does not guarantee perfect relationships with others. It only means that we have the grace to accept the imperfections which relationships bring.
Love covers a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8)
We are careful, however, not to make the mistake of attempting to control our parallel relationships – those with family, friends and associates. Instead, let the person be who they are; your focus should be to prosper and succeed. The beginning of love, writes Thomas Merton, is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise, we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. Nor should we allow ourselves to come under the negative influence of such relationships.
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE COMMUNITY
Finally, when we proceed from a right relationship with God, self and loved ones, we are connected to our wider self – the community in which we live (and even globally). This means we cannot simply bury our heads in the sand and ignore our commitment to peace and justice, and that we are not merely concerned about the welfare of our own, but others as well. We plant seeds that others may water. Ultimately, good comes from it.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Long ago, the great Helen Keller wrote, Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained. We do not have to look across the globe to see the needs of others. Needs exist right in our community.
We live in a relationship reality of love for God, love of self and love for our wider self.
Pastor W. Eric Croomes Ministries Faith Influencer. Executive Director: The Charley and Dorothy Croomes Foundation. Creator of the Watch Your Life Series. I speak about the excellency of His name in all the earth and how that transforms our reality. articleshashtag#wellnesshashtag#stronglifehashtag#lifestronghashtag#fitnesshashtag#empowermenthashtag#goallthewayuphashtag#bodymindspirit