The first relationship story in the scriptures involves the nasty fruit tasting incident on the part of Eve and her accomplice Adam. They break the one “rule” God gave them, “Do not eat from this tree.” God, who has been enjoying evening strolls with them in the Garden of Eden; he expresses his feelings about this incident and relocates them outside the Garden.
This sounds like being cast out; maybe even harsh. But if we keep reading we realize that God goes with them. He neither leaves them nor forsakes them AND he also takes seriously their transgression.
Presence matters; God models it.
Relationships are certainly complicated. Radical love is not intended to be misinterpreted as relational free-for-alls. When there are no consequences, and “It’s all good…” is the chant of the tribe, something is amiss.
But because we are not very good at the messy middle of relational snafus, we often take an extreme position: either ignore the problem or jettison the relationship.
I do not believe we will ever experience life satisfaction apart from relational capacity. We are created for tribe. For example, I do not believe that rising to the top of our respective professions (insert any life goal that you think you MUST achieve to have a life of meaning) will provide true fulfillment UNLESS we do so within the context of meaningful relationships.
Pete can wonder about his life’s purpose and Kim Scott can ask what her job description entails - but both are probably struggling with what it means to be fully present and engaged with life. The details almost do not matter.
For today, ask yourself: what side of the pendulum do you swing on? Do you tolerate too much nonsense? Or do you leave relationships too quickly? Why do you think this is your style of relating?