Relationships are the only place we can give and receive the thing we were created for. Love. We thrive on relationships because they are what allow us to be human people who do what we were created to do. But those same relationships can also bring us the hardest kind of struggles, because not only are the people we choose to love messy, but because we are messy. We all struggle through our relationships at times. We all feel the smallness that our own mess can cause in another’s life. It was a while back, when processing the shy feelings of that, that I wrote this, and I want to share it now. This was me finding grace in the midst of the hurt I can cause. Whatever kind of friendship or relationship it may be, maybe you have known this same kind of smallness recently. It is a smallness that offers us so many of these gifts in pointing to the relationship we most deeply long for.
I am broken, wanting, looking for the grace God offers in the people on this earth who I want to be loved by.
I am messy. I cause hurt.
But I long for love still. For same-day grace, no matter how little I deserve it. I’ve never seen same day grace when I caused hard hurt. Not in anyone on this earth.
And Jesus died for me while I was still sinning. (Rm 5) He considered me worth it. And Jesus is able to carry me through the times when people I love are still trying to work through the hurt I cause. The Savior is able to draw me closer to Him and able to draw me closer to the people I love if that is part of the perfect plan.
I see all my hurt can cause… their hurt, their inability to act from love as they normally would. And I ask why they can’t accept me the way God does. But there’s so many things I have forgotten. Perhaps God allows it all to help me remember…
1. Relationships are hard because the picture we’re made to show is one that flesh cannot perfect. That is why we thirst for more, for the one relationship we’re made to point to.
We live in flesh and always make an incomplete picture of the heavenly face to face relationship with God. The human experience will always leave us thirsty, if we come to it expecting perfect love. The lacking we find there gives us the thirst that draws to the One our soul needs. No matter how beautiful the love in our earthly relationships are, they will never satisfy the deepest thirst of our souls. It’s the truth that can bring the words true from our hearts:
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Ps 63:1
2. Though flesh cannot perfect relationship, found in Him, our relationships can be complete.
Sometimes I compare the love I experience from people, to the love I receive in Christ and these relationships feel so very broken.
And that is just the point. Of course these relationships are broken. Of course all of our relationships are broken. Compared to Christ – broken. But found in Christ… the story is different. We’re covered with His blood. As God’s children, we don’t stand apart from Christ to compare to Him, we stand as people who are found in the shelter of His Person. “Found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” (Phil. 3:9) Found in Christ, me, my brothers and sisters in Christ, our relationships… they stand with Him as the righteousness of God in Jesus. (2 Cor. 5:21) He sees us together in Him and it’s all complete.
3. God, Himself, did not give me His favor until his wrath had been expressed.
I see my friends, my family in Christ express their “wrath” toward my wrong to them (sometimes that is simply just the silent hurt that they have to process before our relationship moves forward) and I ask why they can’t accept me the way God does. But why in asking that do I think that God dismissed my sin? I forget that God had the strongest wrath toward my sin. Wrath that Jesus stood in front of me to receive. He received that most brutal blow, the loss of God’s favor, and gave me the privilege to receive that as truth. “For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.” Ps. 30:5
Perhaps this is the most beautiful gift God has for me here. To receive new the gift Jesus gave me. To know in a new way, that God did not dismiss my sin at all, but in His holy Personhood had to express His full fury on all that was flawed in me. And Jesus chose to stand in front of me through all of that mighty blow.
Yes, first I am broken. I am a small, shy, broken person who causes hurt in the people I love most. And I am the one who has not only forgotten to view the people I love with the identity they have been given in Christ, I am the one who compares them to a false version of who God is. But that broken me has died on the cross with all of God’s wrath in the person of Jesus and I’ve been given the beautiful privilege to move forward boldly in my relationships in the person of Christ. I am found. My relationships are found with Christ and the ability to grow beyond the hurts.