Ballymena Baptist Church

Why can they be so scary?

Why are relationship struggles so disappointing? Why do the
problems we have with other people affect us so powerfully? Why is
relational disappointment one of the hardest disappointments for
all of us to face? Let me suggest some reasons. 1. You were created
to be a social being: You and I were never designed to live in
isolation. We weren’t wired to be distant from and unaffected by
the people around us. In fact, since we were created in God’s
likeness, desire for and participation in community is a
fundamental part of our humanity. The God who made us in his
likeness not only does community, he is a community! To deny this
aspect of your daily life would literally be to deny your humanity.
There would be something dramatically wrong with you if you removed
yourself completely from other people. What this means is that the
hurts of relationships cut deep. In a real way they touch the
essence of who God made you to be, and because of this they’re not
to be taken lightly. 2. We all enter our relationships with
unrealistic expectations: Somehow, someway, we’re able to deceive
ourselves into thinking that we’ll be able to avoid the
difficulties that attend any relationship in this broken world. In
the early days of a relationship we work to convince ourselves that
we’re more righteous, and the other person more perfect, than they
and we actually are. This causes us to be shocked when an
unexpected but inevitable difficulty gets in the way of the bliss
that we had convinced ourselves we had finally found. Here’s where
the Bible is so helpful. It’s very honest about the messiness and
disappointment that everyone deals with in every relationship they
have. 3. We all seek identity in our relationships: What does this
mean? It means that we tend to look for fundamental personal
meaning, purpose and sense of well-being from other people. In
doing this, we turn people into our own personal messiahs, seeking
to get from them what no other human being is ever able to deliver.
That other person is not supposed to be the thing that gets you up
in the morning. They’re not to be what makes life worth living for
you. When they’re in this place, you’ve given them too much power
and you’re asking of them something that no flawed human being can
ever pull off. On the other hand, when you’re getting your
foundational sense of well-being from the Lord, you’re then able to
step into the inevitable messiness of relationships this side of
heaven, and be neither anxious nor self-protective. 4. Our
relationships are more about our little kingdoms than the kingdom
of God: Without being aware of it, our relationships are often
about what we want out of our lives rather than what God wants for
our lives. So we have an “I love you and have a wonderful plan for
your life” approach to relationships with other people. Often we’re
disappointed with a relationship at the very moment when God is
producing through this relationship exactly what he wanted to
produce. Our problem is that our agenda doesn’t agree with God’s!
So, there are reasons for our disappointments but there’s grace for
them as well. The God who will take us where we didn’t plan to go
in order to produce in us what we couldn’t achieve on our own will
also give us the grace to hang in there as he uses the messy
disappointment of relationships to change and grow us and others.
God Bless Paul David Tripp

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