On Sunday, Pastor Jeremy Johnson started a new series on relationships called, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” revealing to us that we were created for love that has no limits, as opposed to the “You help me and I’ll help you” kind of love. Since we’ve grown accustomed to a conditional kind of love system, it’s caused us to retreat from relationship and attempt to walk out our journey with God on our own. We were never created to live in isolation. The truth is that God designed us in such a way that we cannot achieve our destiny without one another.

1 Corinthians 12:12-20 says:

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”

If you’ve ever felt like no one is like you in your community, that’s actually a good thing. We were not created to function the same. Our body actually functions better because of the sum of the different parts. If our body only consisted of eyes, we wouldn’t even be alive. God actually created our differences to harmonize, not divide. Unfortunately, we’ve all been hurt by relationships that have caused us to live in a cycle of triangulation, which consists of the bad guy, the victim, and the rescuer.

The bad guy bullies and manipulates the victim, causing the victim to stay in their victimized state, which then causes the rescuer to jump in and try to fix everything. The bad guy feels such a lack of control in his own life that he feels powerful controlling the victim, and the victim finds purpose in being controlled by the bad guy. The rescuer finds purpose in meeting the needs of the victim, which may seem kind, but it’s actually depriving them of their God-given power to get out of the situation themselves. Anytime we feel powerless we are believing a lie. 2 Timothy 1:7 states, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” The truth is, relationships are messy and painful at times. No matter what we do we will always run into that, but God has given us all we need to love one another through it all, and remain in control of ourselves in the process. We cannot control other people, but He’s given us the power to control ourselves and to choose how we will respond to people.

The kind of relationships we are called to have are the ones where our love is tested and proven true. “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted but an enemy multiplies kisses (Proverbs 27:5-6).” A lot of us enjoy relationship until it gets too real, but it’s in allowing people to speak into your life that true friendship happens. The verse above implies that flattery and surface level friendships are deceitful, but the open rebuke and the friends that are honest with us are the ones that we should trust. We were created for the kind of friendships that enable us to be all that we are called to be, not friendships that keep us in chains.

Unfortunately, the chain filled relationships have tainted our view of relationships so much so that we don’t even pursue the healthy ones, but that can all change today. We can draw a line in the sand and make the decision to stand firm in the good, the bad, and the ugly because it’s in those times that loneliness disappears, camaraderie is forged, and we begin to feel loved and known in ways that we’ve only dreamed of!