12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13
All of us long for deep contact with God and with others. Yet, fear of judgment and having no space in our lives to develop deep contact hinder us when trying to find deep contact with others. God wants us to know that we need not fear judgment to make space in our lives for contact with Him and others.
Each of us have an inner personality that longs for deep contact with another person. This personality of ours is the real us and wants to connect, to know and be known by others. But a fear of judgment and our inability to make space in our lives can lead us to have superficial relationships. We become fragmented when we don’t have these deep relationships, and our outer projection of perfection is all people see.
We long for others to share our world, validate our lives, and show that we’re loved and significant. All of us are constantly reaching out for this contact because God made us to be relational. God first made a vacuum inside of us that only God can fill. This relational vacuum is for God alone, although some try to fill it with other things. God also created us to want relationships with other humans. This is why God said it is “not good” for Adam to be alone in the Garden of Eden—even though God and Adam had a flawless relationship. We were created not just to receive the fullness of God’s love, but to replicate that fullness in our relationship with others.
As Paul points out, however, that Kingdom reality of full relationship with God and others has not happened yet. Even though this promise has not yet been fulfilled, we as Kingdom people should strive to make it a reality in our lives. We are called to cultivate relationships that are open, honest, disclosive, and free of pretense and shame. The real question becomes: if we want relationships that are open, honest, and free of pretense and games, then why do we keep hiding, lying, and feeling ashamed and pretending? There are many reasons for this, but two stand out.
The first reason is we fear judgment. Adam and Eve, when they ate from the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, covered themselves because the accuser had gotten into their heads. They judged each other, and so they felt ashamed in front of each other and God. This is us today. We hide and judge each other because we feel that if we were to know and be known, then people wouldn’t accept us and God wouldn’t accept us. In exchange, we settle for superficial relationships.
To conquer this fear, we must see Jesus as He is. Jesus is Truth, which in the Greek means the uncovering. Jesus unveils the True God, and also uncovers the truth that the accuser has lied to us about—the truth we see on the Cross. The Cross shows God screaming His love at us. He’s the God who loves us and has always loved us. He’s the God who chooses to suffer rather than judge us. He’s the God that we don’t need to hide from. He knows all our sins, yet He loves us anyways, which is why He died for us.
We already know the worst thing that each of us has done, because our sins put Christ on the Cross. This means that there is nothing greater that you’ve done that we can know about. There is no greater sin in your life. So stop playing games and get real with one another. This is how we can speak truth to one another and how we can be honest about our own lives with one another.
The second issue that prevents deep contact in our relationships is the lack of space. Deep relationships take intentionality, work, and time. Most of us, however, have many different pulls on our time and this causes fragmentation in our lives. One of the major space takers in our life is technology. Technology, such as cell phones, can lead to interruptions and distractions from the important things in our lives. This can be the hidden price tag of technology, as a phone call can pull us away from precious moments with family and friends.
Quantity and quality are inversely proportional values in relationships. The more relationships we have, the less quality they are. The more quality relationships we have, the less quantity of relationships we have. It seems that our facebook friend counter isn’t as important as we might have thought.
There are three suggestions for solving our deep contact problems. The first is to trust Christ and renounce judgment. We need to regularly offer up our real self to God, and this can free us from judgment because God has already shown on the Cross that we need not fear His love.
The second suggestion is to offer up all our relationships to God. Asking God which relationships to hold onto, and which relationships to let go of, can help us become less divided in our relationships. The third suggestion is to make space in your life for deep contact. Reflecting on the hectic pace of life can help lead us to ways to cut back on certain things in order to create room for deep relationships.