Jesus patterned vibrant examples of relationships fundamental to boosting emotional and spiritual health. There are three relationships we all need and key reasons for each.
We need the relationships of brother/sister, a child, and a father/mother – continually and simultaneously.
Brother/Sister – Shoulder to Shoulder
The sibling relationship is “ friend for life“. These are those who “do life” with you. Teammates who stick by you in the best and the worst of times. They may not always like you, but they love you enough to never give up on you.
Here are shared confidences, often above any other relationship. Maybe that is why I especially love this verse:
“I no longer call you servants,
because a servant does not know his master’s business.
Instead, I have called you friends,
for everything that I learned from my Father
I have made known to you.”
Jesus chose to be known as Friend, walking shoulder to shoulder with those who were doing life with Him. I think that is incredible – beyond my comprehension.
Child – Carry in the Arm
Ever notice how babies disrupt life?
Children are captivating
vibrant, sometimes plain crazy
questioning, always changing
needy and dependent.
Children bring out the best and worst in us. We had five boys in just under 9 years. Life was always in flux, sleep lacking, and routine difficult to establish. Never a boring day!
These boys had the uncanny ability to draw the deepest love and affection, attitudes of commitment, self-sacrifice, tenderness and compassion. They also exposed in me every weak and immature area I otherwise wouldn’t have been aware of.
More than anything, they taught me the importance of persistent prayer. With children comes a deep sense of responsibility. They teach us much about the loving heart of Father God.
“Love your enemies! Do good to them.
Lend to them without expecting to be repaid.
Then your reward from heaven will be very great,
and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High,
for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.”
I’m not saying children are our enemies, however these phrases certainly apply to raising children. As a natural or spiritual parent there is a lot of doing good and giving without expecting in return. The young at times can be unthankful and even wicked. Reward is in the future; sacrificial giving marks the daily attitude of caring for the young.
We learn this quality of parenting from Father God Himself, as we imitate His heart.
Jesus purposefully chose twelve disciples (children) to walk with him day and night.
Father/Mother – A Shelter
Of all relationships, I have found this the most difficult to cultivate in my life. The relationship of a father/mother in the faith is a mentor.
This is someone who has the authority to speak the deepest in my life
confronting attitudes and issues
exposing hidden agendas or beliefs
sometimes pushing me beyond self-made boundaries
often pulling back the reins of over-enthusiasm
praying for me consistently
loving me deeply.
Just as we need a child young in the faith to help along the way, we also need someone who is over us. We give a mentor both permission and authority of accountability in this relationship.
Here is Jesus’ example:
“…Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself;
he can do only what he sees his Father doing,
because whatever the Father does
the Son also does.”
The young always think they are ready to tackle the world; a mentor knows when they are really ready.
A mentor also is vulnerable enough to pattern life for us through their own personal successes and failures. In strength and wisdom they position themselves with us in our own personal battles.
This relationship will propel you the farthest, enabling you to fulfill your highest calling.
Lord may I consistently
seek out the young to pass the baton of faith to,
a friend to journey life with,
and someone to submit to and follow after.
Thank you, Jesus, for your example
sharing, giving and teaching.