Relationships seem to be a focus for what Jesus is teaching me lately. Navigating some tough ones these days, my initial goal was to just come out on the other side unscathed and unscarred. Due to the fact that community is a basic need we all must embrace as members of the Body of Christ, and members of the human race, and because relationships have been so highly valued in my life, I am failing at my goal. I’m bruised and scarred. But maybe that’s not really the goal after all. I remind myself often that I’m still on the right track in learning to weather the lessons of tough relationships, with difficult people, because Jesus says people are worth it.
In the middle of maneuvering these storms, I came across a quote that rather rocked my boat. “Relationships are not one thing God is up to, relationships are the only thing God is up to.” *
Read that one again. I came to a sudden halt and sat with that realization, thinking back to Scripture and the relationships God initiated with His people in the Old Testament. My mind continued into the New Testament and every mention of Jesus I can recall is one where Jesus is relating to someone else. Be it another person or His Father, Jesus’ only mission was to bring wholeness to relationships.
The Trinity modelled relationship before anything else was brought into existence. In relationship and community, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit spoke creation into being. And today their entire purpose lies in the redemption of people in order to live in right relationship. To Themselves and to each other.
Another reminder of this truth came to me when recently reading a familiar story, that of Jesus healing a blind man. Mark recalls the story of a blind man brought to Jesus in Bethsaida. Though not a “traditional” form of healing in our day, Jesus spit on the man’s eyes and put His hands on him. Mark 8:24 reads, “Jesus asked, ‘What do you see?’ He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’” Jesus put His hands on the man once again and his sight was restored and he then saw everything clearly.
Again, I was stopped in my tracks as I became transfixed on the thought that as Jesus healed this man, the first thing he saw was people. People. The very first thing God granted Him the ability to see was people. In those moments I heard a whisper in my heart from Jesus, reminding me that the first thing I need to see is people. Which is not always easy. Many times, when we look at others we see misunderstandings, betrayal, disputes and disagreements, selfish motives and desires, or a host of other challenges. Our lives are meant to be lived in community. Yes, we are complete in Christ, but it is in community and fellowship with other people that we are made whole.
As Jesus continues to heal us and give us sight, may the first thing we see be people. Those made in the image of Christ. In community with the Trinity. “Jesus asked, ‘What do you see?’ He looked up and said, ‘I see people.’” As tough as it is some days, may this be our ultimate goal.