I recently read in my daily devotional that our earthly relationships reflect the state of our relationship with God (Welch, 2021). When I first read it, I thought, ‘Sure, that makes sense.’ Then I stopped, ‘Wait, what does that mean?’
The devotional discussed the impact of shame on our relationships, particularly when we disappoint others. I thought back to times as a child when I knew my parents would be disappointed when they found out about something I did or did not do—that speeding ticket, a lost class assignment, the garbage still sitting by the back door. Sometimes, okay often, when I knew disappointment would be the reaction, I would try to either delay telling them or even better, try to blame someone else and or make the transgression seem not so bad. We don’t like to feel shame. We definitely don’t like the people we love to be “disappointed” in us—that’s worse than anger! If someone is angry with us then it is easier to justify being angry right back.
But, I’m an adult now. What do I possibly have to hide, especially from God? Well, if you have been reading the previous posts about fig leaves and learning to SIT with God, it turns out we have a lot to be ashamed of, and maybe more so since as adults, many times we “know” better. Child or adult, we are all human and in desperate need of a loving and forgiving God. The relationship we have with him is predicated on our ability to go to him in humility and ask for forgiveness when we know we have disappointed him. When we do so, our relationship grows stronger and more authentic, based not on cowering fear but rather on the fear that inspires awe, adoration, and devotion. When our relationship with God stems from the right kind of fear, our relationships with others follow suit. We are honest and authentic with people. We are better able to forgive. We are better able to come alongside during times of hurt and pain. We are just better people.
One other insight gathered from this devotional was that if our relationship with God reflects the health of our relationships with everyone else, how am I encouraging a healthy relationship with God, first and foremost? How are you encouraging a healthy relationship with God? We would love to hear from you!
Contributed by Liz Hunt
Welch, E.T. (2021). A small book about why we hide. New Growth Press. ISBN: 978-1-64507-141-9