Summary: In this series, we are going to be talking about all kinds of families and relationships. But today, we’re talking about our primary relationship, the most important relationship of all and that’s with God.
The Genesis of Relationships
How many of you have seen the TV show, “Modern Family”? It’s a representation of the diversity of the American Family today with a father and his second wife and blended family, his adult daughter and her husband and kids, and his son and his male life partner and their adopted Asian daughter. It’s about how they share life together as a family but more importantly how they love one another. When you think about the evolution of family sitcoms, we see a growing embrace of the diversity of families: from “I Love Lucy” “Ozzie and Harriet” and my childhood favorite, “Leave It to Beaver.” In the 1960’s, there was the Brady Bunch about a blended family. In the 1970’s, it was the “Jeffersons” and “All in the Family” In the 1980’s it was “Families Ties”, “Different Strokes” and my favorite, “The Cosby Show.” In the 1990’s, it was “Rosanne” and “Married with Children” and “Family Matters.”
Families! They come in all shapes, sizes and expressions. I used to think that my family was pretty normal but not anymore. I had a dad who was a double amputee from diabetes and eventually died from that horrible disease. I have a brother and sister-in-law who are estranged from their oldest son because his wife’s psychological issues and she won’t let them see her grandkids or her husband see his parents. My oldest niece married an abusive, control freak and divorced him within a year. Her brother married a girl who ended up having psychological issues and they divorced. My other sister is a recovering alcoholic and has a two boys, one of whom has was in and out of juvi, has two kids out of wedlock and is involved in drugs. He and his brother don’t even talk to each other. And then there’s my family: they have to deal with me. So much for normal!
What is normal today for the American family? More importantly, what does God want for us as families? To answer that, we’re going to focus on the first families of the Bible in Genesis. Genesis is a book about relationships. And what we’ll see is that none of them were normal. In the midst of their brokenness, we see God’s grace, healing and calling at work. In this series, we are going to be talking about all kinds of families and relationships. But today, we’re talking about our primary relationship, the most important relationship of all and that’s with God. If we don’t have a good relationships with God and we’re not working on it on a daily basis, all our relationships flat-out just don’t work! Jesus said the greatest commandment is this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength.” But then the second was this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Those two are connected to each other. Until you build a great relationship with God, you can’t truly love your neighbor as yourself. The first precedes the latter and makes the latter possible. Our relationship with God impacts every other relationship we have. So until we have a healthy, growing and close relationship with God, we’ll never be able to demonstrate God’s love in our other relationships.
God is relational. God wants to be in relationship with us. That’s why He created us!
Second, we’re created for relationship. We are created in God’s image. And because of that, we are relational. Genesis 1: 27 says, “So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” God doesn’t just want relationship with us. He wants relationships for us. For God said “it is not good for human beings to be alone.” Our relationships not only feed our soul but they help us become who we are. You become like who you hang out with. That’s the power of connectedness. This is why developing the primary, personal relationship with God on a daily basis is so important. We’re not only created in God’s image, He wants us to become like Him.
We are not only created to be in relationships, we need relationships with others. But we know that when we don’t have connections with others, we’re not healthy. I don’t know about you, but I’m a broken person. Can any of you identify with that? And it only gets worse when we’re separated from others. The state of Mississippi has recently closed most of its solitary confinement cells where inmates would spend 23 hours a day and only one hour outside. Why? Because they learned that separation from others just led to more problems and mental health issues. That speaks to the fact that we’re meant to be in relationships with others. And when we are together, even in our brokenness, we are better off because through relationships, we can heal and grow. When we, who are struggling and broken, are connected to other believers, we are not only healthier but we can grow in our faith as they speak God’s purpose in our life, pronounce God’s grace in us, correct us and cheer us on in living for Christ. This is why the writer of Hebrews says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.”