Relationships of Reconciliation
To me, all of these love commandments represent the pursuit of the original state of reconciliation. This "state of reconciliation" is, I believe, what Moses was trying to describe to us in the ancient story of God's creating. Now, maybe you don't believe in a literal garden of "Eden". Well, I'm not here to argue with you but could you believe that the ancient writer was trying to describe the very real possibility of a status of "reconciliation"? A status of creation in which all living things and all of creation exist in harmony and balance? Is that too far fetched for you to accept?
Okay. So, when I write about "relationships of reconciliation", what I'm trying to describe is a state of relating - between you and me, or, between you and someone else, or between your ethnic, cultural, racial, genetic group and someone else's group or a state of relating, even, between political entities. That very state of relating I'm trying to describe also amounts - I believe - to the manifestation of the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, right here among us.
Now, let me try to describe what I mean by a "relationship of reconciliation". There will be numerous updates to this post and probably many posts following it that are closely related.
A relationship of reconciliation is (at least) -
- A circumspect relationship (if you're at all like me, you have to make a real effort to keep sex from unduly influencing the relationship). Starting with this ground rule, the relationship has a chance - perhaps - of being something that can deepen and grow, spiritually. Keeping sex out of the way (Darn!) we're allowed to view the relationship for what it is and to recognize the real needs of those party to the relationship.
- A mutually respectful relationship (and this is STILL one of the things I'm learning and that I expect you are learning as well). But do we even know how to respect ourselves? And do we really know how to respect the other in the relationship?
- A mutually assertive relationship (and if you aren't familiar with assertive relating, I highly recommend that you become familiar with this practice, A.S.A.P.) Both parties in the relationship take responsibility for their own feelings and self-actualization. Now, there's nothing wrong with one member of the relationship coaching the other, if this enables the other to become stronger in the practices of assertive relating. However, the best option is for us (the church) to teach assertive relating to the last, the least and the lost, to the youngest and to the most vulnerable so that we all have this relating tool on which we can call.
- A God centered relationship (sharing discussion about the One Eternal, His Holy Word, His purpose of reconciliation, His Christ, His people and all that other "God stuff", sharing service to His vulnerable ones, sharing the extension of His reconciliation to those who don't yet have the privilege of a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus). It's just hard to beat God as the center for a relationship. He really does rock! (Ummm, and He's a solid foundation - ouch!)
- An 'other oriented' relationship (each of the parties to the relationship continually seeking the good of the other). Believe it or not, this can work between men and men or between women and women or between women and men! An other oriented relationship can always reach out to the other in offering, in forgiveness and in lifting the other closer to God.
- A sustainable relationship (neither of the parties demands of the other that which would disable or diminish the other). This, the better to enable the relationship to be long lasting and mutually beneficial.
- A Holy relationship (wholesome, reconciled, mutually uplifting, spiritually deepening). Holy habits, Holy relationships, Holy communion (as in community).
- A bridge of safe passage between persons (yes, well, any good relationship should be a bridge of trust but a relationship of reconciliation MUST be a bridge of safe passage and trust to qualify).
- A precursor relationship to all other types of relationships. This is part of what I want the church to teach. We must learn and practice relationships of reconciliation to inform and precede all other aspects of relating.
Now, what do relationships of reconciliation have to do with adoption? In answer, I say 'try to realize that Jesus of Nazareth - who adopted you and me into the family of God - lives in relationship of reconciliation with The Heavenly Father and lives in relationship of reconciliation with those who were /are called to Him. And, He lives in a reconciling relationship with you and me' if we have any sort of relationship to Him at all.
As you already know, it is in relationship that we will reach the lost. All the preaching and do-gooding in the world won't make a bit of difference if you and I are unwilling to live in relationship with those who don't have a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus. The One Eternal will do the 'saving' and we can leave that up to Him. Our job is to love honestly and to relate sincerely and I sincerely believe that our relationships MUST be relationships of reconciliation. On those kinds of relationships, I believe He can build His Kingdom.
And there's more to come! Stay tuned!