At the core of Christianity is relationship, first with the Lord, “Eternal life is to know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ Your Son” (John 17:3). Then we have relationship with one another, and the Bible has a lot to say concerning our earthly relationships. We all seem to struggle so much in this area. This world has been plagued with relational issues and tragedy from the day Cain killed his brother, Abel.
I’ve learned the hard way about relationships. I have been involved in some relationships that set me back spiritually, emotionally and at times financially. Understanding relational dynamics, living by the golden rule and having proper boundaries are vital to healthy and fruitful relationships. But I found there is something even more fundamental to relationships. One of the greatest secrets to having healthy relationship with others is having a healthy relationship with your self!
There is a saying, “Hurt people hurt people.” It is true. If you are unhealthy in your self-perception and if you do not love yourself properly then you will never perceive others right nor be able to love them properly. Even Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
I believe one of the issues that plagued Cain was a sense of insignificance. When he brought his offering before the Lord that day and it was not received it set off a chain of events that led to him murder his brother. As we have learned in our Monday Bible study that in reality, it was a door for him to get free, but he refused to go through the door.
I too spent a lot of time thinking I did not really matter. It is an issue I have faced since being a girl. I was a girl in a family that valued boys. I was a girl with a call on my life but was never allowed to explore anything outside of traditional domestic roles and I had times where I almost hated my own brother too because I was told that I could only do certain things because I was female, including things like speaking. Just like Cain, my brother isn’t the one that told me this. He isn’t the one that censored me at all. I have such a hard time speaking corporately but I grew up not being allowed to speak in church other than to other girls and to children. I was not allowed to have one on one conversations with men or speak in a corporate service. I was not allowed to pray at the dinner table if there was a male present. I grew up knowing my thoughts certainly did not matter to my dad, who made the rules for our family and for our church since he was the pastor. It bred a lot of rebellion in me because I have always had something to say. When you can’t speak you learn other ways to communicate so I wrote, but it is not the same…especially when I moved away and saw that other women were allowed an actual voice…even in church.
Insignificance. It is something I constantly have to keep in check. Throughout my young adult life, I would hear of a friend’s success or an important happening in which I was not involved and it just drove home the fact that I did not matter. I believed I missed my chance to matter and do something special. I think the fear of being so insignificant that we will be forgotten or feeling that we are nothing to others plagues all of us at times. And that is at the root of much relational problems and tragedy in the world.
My dad died when I was a teenager but some of the things I learned in those early years proved to be very hard to unlearn….if I even have. As a consequence of feeling insignificant I have spent much of my life measuring myself by what I perceived other people thought of me. Hard way to live day to day and it was slowly killing me. We all have the God given need to be both fully known and fully loved – nothing hidden, but the Lord Himself must first answer that and He has, in Christ (John 14:9-11).
It was when I began to truly know God as my Father and when I truly found out His thoughts about ME… as His child, as a female, as one He called before birth…that I was able to overcome the fear of being insignificant and forgotten. The more I know the Father, the more I know and love my true self. God has destined us all for the same baptism of identity and love that Jesus experienced (Mark 1:9-11). There are no insignificant people in His family and we all are worth knowing, being celebrated and loved.
(will finish later. gotta get some work done)
Fully known, fully loved and having a great day!