Relationships are messy. Relationships are also glorious.
The single-most element that distinguishes our experience of relationship is LIGHT. And I am not talking about that which comes from the sun or a bulb.
“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12)
Jesus Christ is our Light. Living by His Life (Zōē) means we are equipped with the authority to:
- “See” sin coming – and avoid it.
- “See” Truth versus counterfeit.
- “See” beyond the natural into the supernatural. Beyond the temporal into the eternal.
- “Shine” darkness away. (Darkness cannot exist on its own – it is very simply the absence of light).
While each of these are certainly valuable in our relationships, it is the fourth point I would like to unpack a bit – in regards to perceived tension in a relationship.
When you are closely knit with another person, over the course of that relationship there will be times where one (or both) parties feel a “tension,” or that something has shifted in their connection that is unsettling. I’m not talking about obvious disagreements, arguments, etc., or when someone has been directly and intentionally hurt. I am talking about those times where “something is not right,” but that something is not immediately discernible.
This will happen. And it will be with those closest to you – a spouse, family, best friend, confidant, mentor, etc. Your relationships on the rings outside of these are not knit tight enough to your heart (or in the case of your spouse – a shared heart (Genesis 2:24)) to feel the “pull” of these tensions.
What should you do?
Shed LIGHT on the situation.
I testify that I have had two of these kinds of occurrences in the last year – one with a very close spiritual Brother, and another with my best friend.
In one situation, the “tension” was felt only on my heart. In the other, it turns out, the “tension” was shared.
In both cases, Light shined into the darkness, and Light prevailed.
Here is the key though, Light had to be given a “window” to shine through.
In each case, I got into very close, temporarily uncomfortable, and vulnerable space with my friends. We shared our hearts with each other. We listened. We prayed. By the end of the conversations – tension and darkness had been obliterated. It wasn’t that any unidentified issues had been brought to light – it was more that Light so overwhelmed the moment, that issues didn’t exist.
I have no idea what would have happened in my heart, in the heart’s of my Brothers, or in our relationships had Light not been introduced. I shudder to think of it.
The truth is that without Light, our relationships, or anything else for that matter, have no chance. Jesus promised us “Light that leads to life.” We have an enemy that promises only death (John 10:10). He would love nothing more than for us to keep our feelings of tension unspoken, and in the dark. In the absence of Light, darkness can exist, and death is sure to follow.
Jesus also promised us that “where two or more gather in My Name, I am there with them.” (Matthew 18:20). While Jesus is more than with us, He is in us – in relationship and community it is critical that we magnify the Jesus Christ in each of us, to manifest His Light and Life into the space of earth we inhabit at that moment. When there is tension in a close relationship, this space will be tight. But in that space will be Jesus Himself, and the fullness of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Darkness will not remain, for only Light will be.