Reflections on the Big “R”

*It’s more than half past February and twelve days after Valentines. Oh well, better late than never *

It’s the month of hearts once more.

A disproportionate amount of single people are clamoring for that special someone. The rest are clam-shelling in bitterness, envy, self-denial, and “dedicating their lives to research”. Just joking.

Of course, the big “R” I am talking about is Relationships, and I am not even referring to the romantic ones.

They say that Christianity is not about a religion, but about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God. To be a Christian means to be adopted as God’s child:

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” -John 1:12-13

We could say that God values personal relationships. Not just with how a person relates to him, but with how people relate to each other:

How good and pleasant it is 
   when God’s people live together in unity!” -Psalm 133:1

And so, I find it kind of ironic whenever we become impersonal, or when we devalue the importance of inter-personal relationships:

Parents

Relatives

Friends

Mentors/Disciples

Enemies

 Strangers

What do these people have in common?

Jesus loved them all, and showed them that he valued them (yes, even those who jeered against him and wanted him dead).

He loved them enough to know their names, to spend time with them, to share God’s word with them, and, as long as it depended on him, maintain  harmonious relationships with them. He loved them for the individuals that they are – for each was made in the image and likeness of God

Jesus loved his mother enough to not leave her alone before he departed

He loved Lazarus enough to weep, and even revived him

He loved Peter enough to reinstate him, even after being “betrayed”

He showed his love for Saul by accepting him, even though he was the chief persecutor of Christianity back then

He showed his love for the rich young ruler enough to tell him the truth about eternal life

He showed his love for you and me by dying in our place:

 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

Our Lord Jesus, the apostles, and every true disciple from generation to generation has shown us how we should relate to each other:

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  -John 13:35

So, how are we to follow in their footsteps towards radiating Christ-like love and compassion in all our aforementioned relationships? Here are some diagnostic questions:

How is your relationship with God right now? Are you having regular, healthy, two way conversations?

  • Can you give names to the all-too-familiar faces you meet regularly? (people in church, at work or in school, including guards, maintenance crew, and suking tindahan manongs and manangs.)
  • Do you take time to regularly catch up with your friends?
  • Are you at peace with the people around you? Are there any standing issues that need resolution? If so, what are you doing about it?
  • How far are you willing to suffer for your family? Your friends? How about your enemies?
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