But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7)
I’ve been discussing the importance of relationship the last couple of days. Yesterday, I focused on our accepting God’s unconditional love. And I mentioned that one of the four false beliefs embedded in our souls is that those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished. This is a manifestation of the fear of relationships that became entrenched in us through the fall.
When we fail, we feel that God is no longer pleased with us and hence rejects closeness. But He has made provision for our sins to be cleansed and for fellowship to be restored. When we sin, we acknowledge, confess, and repent of the sin, and fellowship is immediately restored with the Father (1 John 1:9).
Most of us have lived in an environment of conditional love so long that we are conditioned to keep walls of self-protection up around us. We refuse to let others into our lives for fear of being rejected or punished in some way. This kind of entrenched pattern of response is difficult to break. It’s often so deeply embedded in our soul that we don’t even realize that we have walls of self-protection that keep others at arms distance.
Unconditional love removes the fear of close relationship. If you know that a person will love you and accept you no matter what then you can slowly learn how to let the walls down and allow others into your life. This takes time. My friend Chip Judd mentions that the three keys to personal change are truth, relationships, and time. Once you’ve experience God’s unconditional love, you are freed to love others with no strings attached. And God’s love also frees us to be loved by others in an unconditional way. It takes time to work through the conditioning that living with the fear of relationships brings.
We began our Lifegroups so that people would have an avenue of relating to others in a closer way. They are designed to be an environment of unconditional love and acceptance. Let me stress again that it takes time to open your true self up to others. If you’ve been wounded deeply by close relationships in your past, it will be a real challenge to ever open your heart to others again. This is where most of us live!
I’ve had close personal relationships in my own life that have ended in the person walking out of my life. That hurts! The tendency is to draw back, erect walls of self-protection, and keep others at arms distance. But for me, close relationship is worth the risk of letting my walls down, and opening up my heart life up to others.
Yes, relationships are risky, but believe me, they are worth the risk! Let your walls of self-protection down. Open your heart life to the Father. Pour out to Him your thoughts, feelings, fears, motives, hurts, pain, misunderstandings, and insecurities. Ask Him to help you. Accept His unconditional love, even if you feel that you don’t measure up to His standards. He loves and forgives! He is not harsh and demanding.
Then, find an avenue of close relationships (Lifegroups!), where you can let the walls down and experience unconditional love! If you will, you will find a freedom in life that few experience! We were made for relationship!