I need to announce this to everyone I am just getting to know although it also applies to everyone I know well. I’m going to let you down.
Might as well come clean and get it over with. Sooner or later, serious or slight, I am going to disappoint you – GUARANTEED!
More than likely, the disappointment form will be either straightforward or a byproduct of me choosing a preference over us, our relationship.
Straightforward is you bringing to my attention that I didn’t meet an expectation you have of me. I pray I won’t deny or sidestep it and let it fester. Best if I simply repent followed by you forgiving me and us moving on.
The preference disappointment is more subtle. I make a choice that affects our relationship, directly or indirectly. Basically, I choose for “me” and “we” are undermined, even if unintended.
This kind of “relationship disappointment” is increasingly common due to having so many choices these days. Every choice moves me TO someone and AWAY from someone else. One day, you will be that someone else.
Accepting a new job, moving to a new home and neighborhood, attending a different church, withdrawing from a club, graduating, getting married….
Prosperity increases my choice options. My attached garage, central air and treadmill keeps me in my home and away from my neighborhood…. So does cable TV and the internet. With my smart phone, earbuds and bluetooth, I don’t even have to be present when physically near you. Then of course there’s air travel…
Yeah it hurts when I opt for I over us. Even when I decide it’s the right thing for me to do, the benefits I initially envision rarely seem as good as I imagined they would be.
As to the relationship damage? I admit that rarely factors into my deliberation. I wonder why?
Fortunately, everyone is doing. That’s why I’m warning you now so you won’t be surprised when I change my mind about how important you are to me. Sorry but you’re just going to have to deal with it.
One more minor complication. Because I’m a Christian, I have to negotiate around this ideal Jesus set for his followers.“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35, NIV)
That smirk on your face tells me that you may be at odds with one or more of your fellow Christians. Even so, Jesus must have been pretty confident about this to stake his new movement on his followers getting this right.“…on this rock I will build my church.” (Matthew 16:18, NIV).
He said this to Peter who didn’t display rock-likeness until quite a bit later. Me neither. Most times, I am more sand-like, not getting it.
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. (Matthew 7: 26, see Matthew 7:24-26, NIV)
Perhaps that’s why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit back our way after he was called home.“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. (John 14: 15-17, NIV)
I spend a lot of time on the Advocate’s help line. To choose us over me goes against my natural bent and often what I judge is best for me. But this ideal is pretty important to Jesus’ cause.
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples…”
When we do this, we become distinguishable from everyone else, as people aligned with Jesus Christ .
We must matter a lot to Jesus.