The person who said “No man is an island” really knew what he was talking about. We were not created to be alone. Our life on earth is studded with relationships of various kinds – husband/wife; parent/sibling; sibling/sibling; man/relatives; man/friends; employer/employee; boss/subordinate; master/servant and so on – apart from which, we have acquaintances with whom we also have relationships of a more superficial kind.
What is a personal relationship – how would you define one? When God created Adam he was alone.
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’” (Gen 2:18)
And thus began the second personal relationship in the history of the world – the first one was Adam with God. God created Adam on the sixth day and gave him a job to look after the garden – and Adam’s first day after being employed, was a holiday! So that he could be in fellowship with God – this is the kind of importance God gives to personal relationships. The fall of Adam and Eve is not intended to be just a quaint story of how evil entered into the world. It is intended to reveal how deeply sin has ruptured our relationship with God. This relationship was meant to be one of deep intimacy, teaching and learning, growth and maturity and above all – love! We were created to be in communion.
Now the most important of all our relationships is the one that gives life to our other relationships – between you and God. If we do not have a relationship with our maker, none of the other relationships will be in order. This is what we have spoken of so often in CFC – a vertical relationship with God and a horizontal relationship with one another – this is the Way of the Cross! Both relationships are inter-dependent on each other.
How does one develop a close and personal relationship with another person? Let me illustrate: You are introduced to a girl (or boy) at a party. In the interaction that follows you are both attracted to each other. You realise that this is the girl of your dreams and you feel you could spend the rest of your life with this person. You go home dreaming about her, her face mesmerizes you; her voice haunts you; her laughter rings in your ears; you cannot get her out of your mind. What do you do? After the party, do you go home and forget all about her? Do you carry on with your life as though nothing has happened – as if you two had not met? No! You call her (and if she responds); you date her; you begin spending all your available time with her. Before you met her, your life probably revolved around your work or your studies. All of a sudden your perspective changes. You make time to spend with her, because you want to develop a deep personal relationship with her.
Brief Testimony: When I met Linda, it was love at first sight. For a “strong silent type”, we talked through nights. A shy, introvert was swearing love within three days. There were no cell-phones then, and land-lines were a luxury only the rich could afford. So how did we communicate? Love always finds a way. I wrote her a letter every single day – that’s what made the separation bearable. She treasures every one of those letters and still has them as her prized possessions.
During our growing up years, we make so many friends – in our neighborhood; in school; in college; during summer camps, etc. How many of us have kept in touch with these friends over the years? When perchance we do meet them again, we feel so happy and excited at seeing them. Sometimes we pick up the threads and renew the relationship. But most often we find it so difficult to hold a conversation beyond the first few minutes of small talk and enquiring about common friends. Why? Because so much water has flowed under the bridge that it becomes difficult to bridge the gap. Once we start working, we develop a new set of friends. When we change our job or relocate to a new town/residence, the same thing happens. Friends who once knew every important detail of our lives slowly become mere acquaintances because we haven’t taken the time to keep the friendship alive.
To build, develop and maintain a personal relationship, to start with, here are just two tips, but they will make a world of difference:
- Spend some time to keep in touch, a few minutes will be time well invested:
- Note down their cell-phone number and e-mail address and contact them – not just by forwarding SMS’ or mail, but on a more personal level.
- Record their birthdays and anniversaries and make it a point to wish to them personally – often, apart from their near and dear, you may be the only one to remember these special days.
Feed-back after you try out these suggestions will be well appreciated and for more on “Personal Relationships” watch this space.