Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships

[ 0 ] March 20, 2019 |

Rajendra Prasad Poudyal,
Kathmandu- 19 March 2019,

This year the International Social Work Day was observed worldwide with the theme “Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships”.

Four Dimensions of Human Relationship:

  1. The Relationship You Have with YOURSELF
  2. The Relationship You Have with OTHERS
  3. The Relationship You Have with the ENVIRONMENT
  4. The Relationship You Have with GOD, the CREATOR

1. The Relationship You Have with YOURSELF

If you can’t relate to yourself well, none of your relationships become effective or fruitful. Robert Holden opines, “The relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have.” Life is all about knowing yourself and finding the answers of some of the crucial questions of life: “who am I?”, the question of identity, “Where did I come from?”, the question of origin, “why am I here?”, the question of purpose and meaning of life, “how should I be living?”, the question of morality, ethics and religion, and “where am I going?” the question of eternal destiny. “Knowing who I am and caring for myself is not self-indulgence, rather it is self preservation,” Audre Lorde.

Self-care is about looking after yourself: your mental, physical and spiritual health. The relationship you have with yourself is crucial to your own wellbeing and also in creating healthy and happy relationships with others. Being kind to yourself regularly is one of the best things you can do for yourself. You never know others unless you know who you are and you can’t love others unless you are in love with yourself.

I was created in God’s own image

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

I am fearfully and wonderfully made by God

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Pslam139:13-16)

I am a sinner

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

I have hope in Christ

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

God still loves me

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

I am saved by the precious blood of Christ

Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (1 Peter 1:18-19)

I am God’s temple and required to live a holy life

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy; and you are that temple. (1 Cor 3:16-17)

I have new identity in Christ

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is anew creation; the old has passed away, behold the new has come. (2 Cor 5:17)

I have eternal destination with Christ

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

 2.The Relationship You Have With OTHERS

We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.’ -Martin Luther King Jr.

We definitely love the ones who love us, respect the rich, powerful, educated and the ones who respect us. But how about loving those who do not love us, more precisely, the marginalized ones, the poor ones, the ones who don’t deserve our love?

When Jesus told his disciples, “Love your enemies”, he was actually telling to love everyone, meaning there is no one on heaven and earth that we can hate. The moment you hate someone, you disobey his command and you are no longer his disciple. This is never possible with our own strength but by the power of His Spirit.

 We all are equal and bear God’s image

“God created them in His own image; male and female He created them…”

No discrimination, including caste and gender discriminations, is acceptable before God.

 Unity among brothers and sisters

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when human beings live in unity,” (Pslam 133: 1)

 Golden rule of the Bible

“So whatever you wish others would do to you, do so to them for this is the law…” Matt 7:12

 You can’t hate others and follow Jesus

“Love your neighbors as yourself.” Matt 22:37-39

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1: 27

“Love your enemies…” Matt 5: 44

You can love your neighbors without loving God but you can’t love God without loving your neigbors

 Just society

“Let the justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:24

“He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

3.The Relationship You Have with the ENVIRONMENT

When God had created everything, He looked at the acts of His own hands and marveled as the creation account records, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) What does the same God looks at the earth now and say? Will He say to the human beings? “Well done! You have taken good care of the earth I created and entrusted you to take care”

The environmental crisis is a global problem and poses a threat to the survival of humanity and other living creatures. Many human diseases, extinction of animals and birds, lack of natural resources, and natural calamities are the result of environmental crisis. There are so many factors that have contributed to this crisis. Reckless development is one of them. Many scientific and socio-developments are good, but they are to be examined in the light of the growing ecological problems in the world.

There are mainly three reasons for this concern: population growth, resource depletion and runaway technology. If every creature living on this planet earth doesn’t understand his/her responsibility for caring the earth, in no time the earth will be a place where no living creatures can take the breath of life.

The biblical approach to the environmental issue is to ask this basic question: to whom does the earth belong? It is deceptively elementary.

God is the Creator

The very first verse of the Bible says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) and Psalm 24:1 reads, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” God is the Creator, and so by right of creation is also its owner.

God has given the earth to Human beings to take care

Here is Psalm 115:16, “The highest heavens belong to the Lord; but the earth He has given to man.” Similarly, Genesis 1:26-28 reads, “Then God said, let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground’.” Similarly, Gen 2:15 records, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”

It is dual ownership

That means the earth belongs to both God and man- to God because He created it and to us because He has given it to us. Not, of course, that He had handed it over to us so completely as to retain neither rights nor control over it, but that He has given it to us to rule on His behalf. Our possession of the earth is leasehold, therefore, not freehold. We are only ‘tenants’; God Himself remains the ‘landlord’. We can legitimately make three affirmations from these biblical materials. First, God gave human beings dominion over the earth. Secondly, our dominion is a co-operative dominion. Thirdly or lastly, our dominion is a delegated, and therefore a responsible dominion.

The Bible makes it clear that God expects, even demands, that we be stewards of His creation. Scripture is undisputable. God created the different species of plants and animals, blessed them, protected them and made a covenant with them. Our stewardship should be measured by healthy ecosystems and sustainable, responsible consumption and eco-friendly behavior.

4. The Relationship You Have with GOD, the CREATOR

In one of his last songs, Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the rock group Queen, asked the question: ‘Does anybody know what we are living for?’

In spite of the fact that he had amassed a huge fortune and had attracted thousands of fans, Freddie Mercury admitted in an interview shortly before his death in 1991 that he was desperately lonely. He said, ‘You can have everything in the world and still be the loneliest man, and that is the most bitter type of loneliness. Success has brought me world idolization and millions of pounds, but it’s prevented me from having the one thing we all need – a lovingongoing relationship.’

There is only one relationship that is completely loving and ongoing, and for which we were created. Without that relationship there will always be a deep sense of loneliness and a lack of ultimate meaning and purpose of life.

At the heart of the Christian faith is this relationship with God where we find what we are living for. Christian faith has two dimensions: Our love to God, the Creator, the vertical dimension of our faith and our love for our fellow beings, the horizontal dimension of our faith. Both the dimensions are reciprocal and one is meaningless and incomplete without the other. In other words, our relationship with God redirects us to relate with our neighbors who are in need and our relationship with our neighbors heightens our vertical relationship with God.

CONCLUSION

To sum up, our relationship with ourselves, with others, with the environment and with God are not four different types of relationships but they are just different manifestations of the one and only relationship that is “Our Relationship with God” as He is the one who created our ‘SELF’, the ‘ENVIRONMENT’ and ‘ALL HUMAN BEINGS’. Every relationship that exists in heaven and on earth sums up in our relationship with God, that is how we relate to OURSELVES (as His image bearer) to GOD (as our creater), to OTHERS (His people) and to the ENVIRONMENT (His creation).

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