March Bible insights - The tricky business of relationships
3/03/2018 - 2 Peter 3:18 'Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’
Imagine there’s a knock on your door and a government official informs you that, along with several others, you have been chosen to fly RAF fast jets. No training will be given. Pack your bags, you start tomorrow and will be expected to get straight into the cockpit and fly a sortie. That’s ridiculous but is it very different from what we expect of ourselves in the challenging business of making life work? What was your training like for in-depth quality relationships? Was there the equivalent of an instructor to draw alongside you, teach you and demonstrate how to fly this amazing machine called you? No? Well, all things considered, perhaps you haven’t done so badly after all. If you crashed and burnt perhaps that wasn’t because of a fatal flaw in you. Maybe you don’t need to live under the constant cloud of self-condemnation.
No-one wakes up in the morning and thinks, ‘I plan to make life difficult today for my friend, my wife, my children.’ No-one starts a friendship or gets married with the intention of making it go wrong. I have sat many times with couples who have got stuck at a point of disagreement and felt so sorry for them because they have been plunged into this tricky business of relationships without being given even the basic tools to make those relationships work. You wouldn’t expect the electrician to turn up to fix your electrics without his toolbox.
If we accept that there were gaps in our training then we will see that we are all learning, all on a journey and that the key is to stay on the journey with each other – preferably with as little fighting as possible. As our verse reminds us, this is about growing. Some people have been brought up to feel that they need to be the finished article. Rather than seeing themselves on a journey they feel that they are not good enough if they haven’t already arrived. Be kind to yourself and if you haven’t been taught the skills of relationships, then set yourself the task of learning them in company with others you are journeying with. If there is a subject you really want to learn about, going to college or night school is a pleasure. It might be hard work but because it is so important to you, it becomes an exciting experience. You can’t get enough of it. Why not have the same mind-set with this business of relationships? The problem is that it feels like the stakes are high as adults – we are supposed to know - and so we defend ourselves and argue. If we don’t know because no-one taught us, then there is no shame in that. Now, as adults, we can set ourselves to learn what we didn’t learn – and do so with enthusiasm and excitement. Think what a difference that would make!