Relationships: Do We Need Them?

They are troublesome. They’re risky. They keep us up at night. Wouldn’t it be easier to just forget about them and live our own lives?

Not really. There are many reasons why it’s necessary for us to learn skills of dealing with other people, although few of us are experts, and nobody will relate well with all people. Jesus said it like this: “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:20)

The prophet long ago had said about Jesus, “He is despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Is. 53:3)

So then, why can’t we just climb a mountain and live in a cave after we become a Christian? Multiple reasons.

First, when Jesus responded to the lawyer about the “great commandment,” He actually cited the two most important; Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and “the second is like unto it,” Love thy neighbor as thyself. In other words, we are loving God when we are loving our neighbor. It is very difficult to do good things for other people when we are isolating from them.

Jesus clarified that His people would be finding ways to “wash one another’s feet,” and the whole New Testament shouts the importance of loving others. Along with the words of Jesus, Paul wrote much about charity (agape love), and the “royal law” is given by James as “loving your neighbor as yourself,” requiring us to interact with others.

Secondly, there’s a healthy dependency in understanding our need of each other. God so set up the Church so we would find our needs met in the diversity of gifts, and none of us will be able to function totally independently; we NEED each other! The “introvert-extrovert” dichotomy simply is a way of explaining how different people “recharge their batteries,” and is not meant to be justification for excluding others from our lives.

Finally, our lives are empty and unfulfilled unless we find our purpose in God’s plan for us, and that will always involve service for other people, in some way. Our friend in a cave on a mountain may not have any conflict with others, but he will find it difficult to serve others in isolation, in that cave. A cave may be a nice place to visit, but it’s a horrible place to live!

Frequently, the topic of relationships comes up in counseling, and it is healthy to be able to interact acceptably with other people. Sometimes, one interacts in such a way that relationships are sabotaged, and it is good to bounce ideas off other people to get their reaction how we are “coming across.” Life is certainly more interesting with family and friends and neighbors. Let’s use them for the glory of God!

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