Rules and Relationships
Rules and Relationships
“Rules without relationships produce rebellion.” Relationships without rules produce chaos and/or control.
Many people are in relationships where there are no rules except the ones they make.
Relationships can be used to manipulate and control. “If you want a relationship with me, you will do as I say! You will bow to my wishes. You will dance when I sing. You will support my programs. If you do not do as I say, you cannot be my friend.” And on and on and on ad nauseum. So, for the price of being controlled, we can have a “relationship.” For the price of surrendering autonomy, we can get along.
Does that sound like Jesus? Did He accommodate the religious leaders of His day? Did He allow the suave approach of Nicodemus to cloud His thinking about that leader? Was Jesus willing to surrender truth to have a relationship with Nicodemus or anyone?
Relationships are very important. They are the life-blood of living here on this earth. But, they dare not be experienced at the price of truth. It is truth that produces relationships – We are “fellow helpers of and to the truth.” Biblical relationships are founded on truth.
Relationships do not produce truth. But, truth is most effective when presented in the context of relationship. Truth will keep relationships strong. Truth will produce trust and trust is the basic building block of all relationships.
Truth, trust, relationship is the sequence that produces stable society.
Relationships do not produce truth. They usually produce the opposite. Today relationships are replacing truth. Authenticity has replaced holiness. Young people have seen so much “rules without relationships” that they are hurting from that type of system. They have now gravitated to relationship in spite of rules or with no rules. The faux security and comfort of relationship has replaced the real security of truth and rules.
Love, joy, and peace have taken precedence over self-control, righteousness, and truth. Part of the fruit of the Spirit is being sacrificed for another part (Gal.5:22, Eph.5:9).
As a man, father, teacher, leader, I have to be willing to risk relationship to maintain truth. Wanting your favor cannot condition my message or my behavior. Truth must be presented with real love and care; not with a pseudo love that distorts the message at the loss of the truth.
All of this can seem paradoxical. No rules without relationship. No trust without truth. “I am so glad that I am part of the family of God.” But, being part of the family requires me to be a person of truth so I can offer you a relationship.
In an age of so much hurt – in an age of so much need for relationship – be careful to not neglect truth. Loss of truth will destroy us while making us feel good and feel accepted. Seek those who can merge truth and love like Jesus did and still does. It is only truth that will set us free. In that freedom is found all healthy relationships and an awesome experience of God in the heart and life of the committed believer and the faithful Church. May that be your portion today.