3 Reasons Why We Struggle With Relationships
Learning to humble ourselves and serve others is a lesson demonstrated to us in John 13, when Jesus washed His disciples’ feet.
What’s important to understand here is that Jesus knew God had given Him all things, and that he had come from God and was going back to God. So, if we believe that where we come from and where we’re going is true, why do we struggle so much with connection, why have we created YouTube videos to demonstrate how to avoid ‘awkward’ hugs (yes, really) and why is the age-old practice of washing one another’s feet so last century?
1. Because we mistrust/distrust others
One of the biggest reasons for this is that we approach building relationships with the mindset of what we can get from others rather than what we can give to them. But this works both ways. We also shut ourselves off from having conversations with strangers because we’re skeptical of their motives, assuming everyone is out to get something from us.
2. Because we’ve been hurt or let down
We’ve all been hurt or let down by some of the people in our lives, and for some of us, by those we love most or those who are meant to protect us. We carry the pain and the heaviness that comes with that and it clutters our souls, to the extent that it affects our relationships.
We’re often so busy trying to guard ourselves from being hurt or disappointed again, that we don’t put ourselves out there, yet we wonder why we struggle to connect.
Like a nervous driver is so afraid of causing an accident that they actually cause an accident, we’re so afraid of being hurt that we actually cause hurt.
Our human nature is sinful, and the sooner we understand that we aren’t perfect (although made perfectly in the image of Christ), the sooner we’ll realise that there will always be an element of hurt in our relationships. We will all let each other down from time to time. This is why Paul acknowledges in Colossians 3:12-13 that if we’re going to be in relationship with each other, we’re going to have to walk in forgiveness.
3. Because we’re selfish
In response to The Times sending out an inquiry to famous authors, asking the question, ‘What’s wrong with the world today?’ G.K. Chesterton responded:
Yours, G.K. Chesterton.’
We are the problem with the world today. Because, let’s admit it, we are the common denominator in our relationships. We’re waiting for the next ‘perfect’ person (or community) that’s worthy of a relationship with us, but if we apply the same principle to ourselves, we probably wouldn’t want to be friends with us.
So, we struggle to connect because we don’t give people the benefit of the doubt, we don’t walk in forgiveness and we think it’s all about us. But the good news is that we have a compassionate High Priest, someone who knows the struggle, and the more we grow in our relationship with Christ and our identity in him, the better we’ll get at this relationship thing.
We believe that we can connect on the same level as Jesus, if we’re willing to humble ourselves and act in response to the grace that has been given to us.
As difficult as relationships can be, we have the perfect example in Jesus. By washing His disciples’ feet, He taught us how to relate to one another, even those who betray us. All because he believed God had given Him all things and He knew where he was from and where He was going…
Do you see your relationships, especially the difficult ones, as an avenue of grace? We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas around connection in the comments section below.