Isolationism and individualism are dangerous threats to the wellbeing of people’s overall mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. And in this modern era of technology relational skills are being neutered rapidly as people communicate via text, tweets, Pinterest, Facebook, and other social media platforms. I’ve even watched people text each other while sitting in the same room!
We all know that relationships are risky and require an enormous amount of work. The closer you get to someone the greater the risk, the more skin you have in the game, and the greater the workload in order to maintain and grow the level of closeness.
I am blessed with relationships on many levels. I have a wife, kids, grandkids, family members, friends, staff, people I pastor, other ministry acquaintances, relationships in the business community…you get the picture. But I’ve been deeply wounded by relationships throughout life, and I would guess the same may be true for you. So I have to ask again, “Are relationships worth the risks?” I say “NO”. Surprised?
I say relationships are not worth the risks UNLESS:
-- You want to mature. Maturity will never happen in isolation.
-- You want to live unselfishly. Living in community with others teaches you that the world does not revolve around you. In relationship you learn the “one anothers” of the New Testament, how to lay down your life, agendas, and desires for the sake of others. (Hmm, sounds like someone else with the initials “JC”.)
-- You want to be happy. Studies show that those who maintain strong relationships live at a higher level of joy than those who don’t.
-- You want to add value to others. You have more to offer than you think, and to live alone means that you rob others of the things God put in you that can bless others and add value to their life, which in turn brings more joy to your life.
-- You want to be Christ-like. Jesus invested His life into others and invited 12 guys to “do life together”. He knew the risks involved even when he invited them to journey with him, choosing to pour into one guy who would later betray him, another who would deny knowing him, and others who would jockey for position and notoriety. And he chose relationship with me, knowing of all the times and ways I would hurt him. Wow!
The benefits of relationship far outweigh the risks. Do you agree? I challenge you to overcome the fear from previous hurts and do one thing intentionally this week that moves you closer to life-giving relationships.