If you type relationships into the search bar on the website http://www.usccb.org, you get about 3210 return results. If you narrow that down to just the New Testament, you get down to about 47, but surprisingly, there is a statement about it in every single book of the New Testament. This was a theme coursing through most of my day yesterday, as I was interacting with different people, and this morning, it hit me, it is really amazing how intricately we are all connected to each other. As a matter of fact, it was such a powerful theme yesterday, that I woke up this morning with it on my mind again.
Everyone and everything is inter-woven together. No matter what, there is absolutely nothing on Earth that does not impact something else in so way, shape, or form. Human relationships are no different. It is true in both the seen and unseen relationships we have with others. Let that sink into your mind just for a moment… everything we say, do, or even possibly think, has an impact on someone in some fashion…. whether we realize it or not. If you are like me, your mind just stopped for a minute. I am still trying to reconcile that notion for myself, so, trust me, it is a hard thing to think about. After really looking at it, and trying not to be sorrowful for all the bad things that I may have caused anyone… it hit me like a ton of bricks… Jesus understood this so well, that no matter what he was preaching, this relationship theme was consistent and constant throughout his ministry.
The sermon on the mount, the sermon on the plain, in teaching how to pray, and how to go about your daily lives… Even in the public display of anger he had by kicking over the money changers in the temple, all of that led back to a relationship. Our salvation is dependent upon our building a better relationship, not only with God the Father, our neighbors, but ourselves as well. Jesus described it this way in Mark, Chapter 12:28-31:
One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’
The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
We, as in everyone, can not begin to have a better relationship with God until we start to bring that love out to everyone, including those enemies of ours, but it really starts with ourselves. We have to choose to love our own person, as well. Realize though, that all three are intertwined together. That is the hardest thing to do, love ourselves, at least it is in my point of view.
Many years I spent in a depression because I could not come to grips with the fact that I was supposed to love myself. I tried to make relationships work, but they never did, and it wasn’t until recently that I discovered the problem was that I did not wholeheartedly love me. Flaws and all. Yeah, I know, sounds totally strange, but I am here to attest to everyone that once I started allowing myself to choose to love me, my life has started to turn around. The relationship with me has gotten better, my relationship with God has started to shine brighter, and yes, even people who I have been hurt, or hurt, those relationships are starting to mend, albeit slowly, but starting down a better road. Not an easier, less challenging road, but one that has a bright light at the end of it. I had to be willing to open the door to allow for my relationship with me to become better, which I can only attribute to God’s Grace and Mercy coming to me. Because all of it is inter-connected, it all acts together at the same time.
I challenge everyone today to take a hard look at your relationships as a whole. Start with yourself, and work outwards from there. Enjoy and relish in the triumphs and work on allowing love to guide the flaws. We are really all in this together, each and every one of us, interconnected with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Choose to love today.