The focus of my journey has been on the relationship between God and Humans, and between Humans and God. In both my pastor’s message last week and a comment by Pastor Ken Ranos, I was reminded that in my journey I am missing an important aspect of the Christian life. I am missing the relationships between each of us, human to human.
Coming from the Baptist/Non-denominational world, this is easy to do. With its focus on justification, it is easy to get absorbed in the relationship between God and Humans. Furthermore, for me, human relationships are always a struggle. It is far easier for me to focus on my relationship with God. Relationships with other humans are much more challenging.
It is also difficult to find specific guidance in the Christian tradition. Human relationships are extremely complex and are profoundly impacted by our insecurities and weaknesses. Our relationships are also impacted by tradition, by culture, and even by our economic systems. Mostly, the Bible does not seem to offer clear answers for the complexities and ambiguities of modern relationship issues.
Relationships also fall into many categories. We have relationships with family, with co-workers, and through common interests. We have relationships both with those of the same religious tradition as ourselves as well as those of different traditions. Our relationships are profoundly impacted by borders in our society, especially economic and racial.
Those who follow my blog know I summarize the relationship between God and Humans by focusing on God coming down to Humans rather than Humans using our own efforts to reach God. For the varied and complex relationships in life, is it possible to come up with a simple statement for human relationships?
Clearly, Christ gave us much guidance. He tells us to love our enemies, he tells us to do unto others as we have them do unto us, and he tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. But, to be honest, this seems insufficient. I have had problems that could not be addressed with love, at least by using any definition of love that I understand.
As I continue my journey on Thinking About Our Thoughts, I now add the problem of how to think about our relationships with other humans. I believe this problem is much more complex than the simple answers given by so many Christians. I look for a better answer.