“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3
My generation is the worst when it comes to commitment! Yes, I said it! And you know what? I am part of the problem too.
We are so relationship challenged and social media is not even to blame.
As a matter of fact, we are great at being social even if it kills us to be genuine while doing so. We do such a good job putting on an act behind our computer screens that pretending comes naturally to us when we see our “friends” face to face.
But when it comes to maintaining meaningful relationships, we lack effective communication skills, compassion, forgiveness and patience to stay in them for the long haul. We are quick to dismiss those who rub us the wrong way, exclude those who do not measure up to our ideal human standards and end things between people we’ve known for years (since childhood even) over something minuscule.
And lets not get on the topic of marriage! Kim Kardashian is not the only one who holds a record for calling it quits after 72 days of wedded bliss (and disharmony). There are countless others in that age group who have lasted about that long if not less, and who, fortunately for them, do not have to deal with the attentive eyes of the public, media sensationalism and scrutiny.
I don’t know if the fault lies in Disney movies, but what I do know is that we have been conditioned and disillusioned into believing that perfect relationships exist. As a result, we can’t keep friends, spouses, children or parents around us for too long if they don’t march to the beat of our drums.
This zero-tolerance-for-flaws attitude that we have is even affecting the way we do church. I can’t tell you how many times I have literally watched from the back pew as the church fell apart…and away. At one church in particular, we downsized from a 300-member congregation to 50 faithful worshipers in a matter of two days. From what I learned from my mother (she was part of the latter group), the majority of the flock were unhappy because our pastor was not open to the idea of purchasing and remodeling a big abandoned warehouse across town. That’s all it took!
A few years ago, I watched (again) as some of my fellow peers from the young adult ministry jumped ship. I am not sure what their real reasons were, but I knew some of them were unhappy that our senior pastor had released the youth pastor, who was also the head honcho of our group. I remember feeling as if something was wrong with me because I still chose to attend the church. I tried to persuade my husband into leaving and prayed that God would show us to the door and point us to the perfect house of worship, but neither my better half nor my Savior would budge.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that whatever happened between the senior and youth pastors was not my battle. I was not in a committed relationship with them; I am devoted to God. And the church I attend is our divine meeting place until further notice.
I also learned that you can’t follow people toward a path that looks or feels right. People will lead you astray. Since I decided to follow Jesus, I have to trust His way, for better or worse, for narrow or narrower.
He has said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” (Matthew 7:13).
Why leave the church over one person (or two)? Why send your spouse “to the left” because he failed to get one thing right? Why yell “no new friends” because your confidante disappointed you that one time? I get that we are human and capable of being hurt. But the people who hurt us are human too and fully capable of getting it wrong (just as we are).
Granted, there are instances when we have constantly forgiven those who have wronged us, but isn’t that what commitment to God is about?
Imagine if God was not committed to us or to His cause (which is to save each and every one of us from the pits of hell)? Imagine if He lacked effective communication skills (the Word), compassion, forgiveness or patience in our relationship with Him? Where would we be?
Oh I’ll tell you…we would have been dismissed, excluded and put to an end! Thank God, He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
We can’t allow the world to be our source of inspiration when it comes to commitment. They’ve got it all wrong anyway! They’ll tell you “to love things and use people instead of use things and love people.”
God created people so that healthy relationships would be formed in love and unity would permeate the earth through peace. It was His way of demonstrating what He desires with us — intimacy and oneness. But we can not accomplish neither of those without commitment. In the final analysis, anyone worth having is worth fighting for. If I am worth it to God, then you are worth it to me. If you are worth it God, then I should be worth it to you.
Because God sees us in completion, He fights for us and is committed to helping us realize our full potential.
And if we say we are committed to God, then we owe it to Him to accept our pastors, flaws and all; to accept our parents, flaws and all; to accept our spouses, flaws and all; to accept our friends, flaws and all; most importantly, to accept ourselves flaws and all. We owe it to God to maintain our relationships (unless He tells us to cut ties with certain people).
Let’s stop nitpicking at the fragments of people’s identities, and start loving them in the wholeness of Christ. Let’s be committed for Christ’s sake.