Relationships and the Trinity
If you happen to be looking for advice specifically about relationships, it wouldn’t hurt to begin by reflecting on the Trinity. That would be the three-in-one and one-in-three word used to describe God by most Christian people who speak English.
This suggestion, by the way, is nothing new and not at all original with me. Look into it, and you will find a small army of academics talking about it constantly. And it makes sense to reflect on such things; that is, if you have come to the realization that God is best described as a trinity. For here you will find an example of an ideal relationship.
Notice, that I didn’t say you should try to completely understand it. Even thinking about a little piece of this world, or part of reality, for too long will blow your mind. Don’t believe me? Give it a try. Very little that appears to be simple and self-evident actually is.
With this in mind, consider that refusing to believe in the Trinity is no different, at one level, than refusing to believe in your next door neighbour. It is just that people get used to accepting some mysterious realities – like Dietrich or Anna or Pedro or Simone, etc. – and accustomed to rejecting others. Mystery is not synonymous with truth or reality, but it should come as no surprise that God’s nature is difficult to comprehend. What would you expect?
Now, a relational guru I most definitely am not. Far from it, in fact. So please don’t look too long in my direction. This post is intended, rather, to point you in the direction of Someone, a personal being, who knows a whole lot more about relationships than I do. Get to know God, look at God’s nature, and you will catch a glimpse, a vision, of what a healthy relationship with another person could look like.
“But, I don’t live in an ideal world,” you say. “Why should I bother, because relationships will always be messed-up and less-than down here!” True enough. But may I suggest that you keep looking in God’s direction anyway, because it will help. It is bound to make a difference in your life.
One thing you will notice straightaway is that there is unity and diversity and harmony within God – within the Trinity. Many people nowadays seem to expect that it will be possible to find unity and diversity and harmony without God. They go so far as to suggest that God is really the problem. “If only humanity would reject God, then we would finally have peace on earth and a world full of wonderful relationships,” people say. But I wonder if they really mean it.
What they usually have in mind is a picture of some “religious” nut blowing up something over here, or another “religious” zealot abusing somebody over there. But human beings don’t need religion (whatever that is) to be mean and nasty – although it sometimes helps. Secular zealots, no doubt, cause a fair amount of trouble too. And guess what? The vast majority of child abusers on this planet, and there are thousands of them, would not likely claim to be pastors or priests. That said, and for what it is worth, there is clear example of what most everybody seems to want within God. Why don’t we just stick with God?
Are you longing for unity and harmony in your relationships? Are you tired of all the boring conformity you see around you? Would you like to learn how to be yourself in a close community? Consider God.
A second observation, that is almost too obvious to even mention, is that there is a staggering amount of raw power represented within God. Consider that a full-scale, all-out, Mutual-Assured-Destruction, nuclear war here on earth would be like making popcorn for God. What Iran, or another nuclear power, is capable of amounts to nothing next to God. Yes, this is shocking to think about. And it is very encouraging to be assured that God is good, and will one day use this awesome power to fix this broken world. There is a degree of power represented within the Trinity and you and I cannot even begin to imagine. And yet…there is still unity and harmony. Just think about that.
Meanwhile, here on earth, too many strong personalities in one room, or one family, or one marriage, or one church, or one organization, can be a big problem. Human beings have a hard time functioning to their full potential without stepping on each others’ toes, pushing each others’ buttons, and getting into conflict. But notice, once again, that this isn’t a problem within God. Here we have an example of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit working together at full strength and there is somehow still intimacy and love and harmony. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if that was the reality in your organization or in your circle of friends?
Much more could be said, but for now I leave you with this:
If you are longing for more unity and diversity and harmony in your relationships, if you would love to see more and more people fulfilling their true potential, may I suggest – that whether you realize it or not – this is because you are living in a world that can be traced to a triune God.
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