“To be loved and not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” Tim Keller
This quote from Tim Keller has been super helpful for me personally over the past few years. It has caused me to think more deeply about how I relate to other people. So lets take a few minutes to ponder the following three kinds of relationships we all have; superficial relationships, fear based relationships and grace based relationships.
We all have relationships we could label as superficial. This may not be all bad since we will never know everyone we meet, in deep and profound ways. There just isn’t time to know every person we meet deeply. But, some relationships that could have more depth don’t for various reasons. Like the Keller quote says, this kind of relationship is marked by feelings of love, but not being fully known. This is comforting in many ways, but the superficial nature of these relationships keeps us longing for more.
Fear Based Relationships
Fear based relationships can be tricky. We hide from people that tend to throw rocks at us. We build walls that keep us a safe distance from these folks. What would happen if we became vulnerable with one of these people. We fear that they may use our past or current failures against us as yet another rock. We may feel that we are handing them the rock that they will throw back at us. So we build a wall to stay safe. Fear locks us up. We become a prisoner to how others may react to any information we share. Like the Keller quote says, to be fully known and not loved is our greatest fear. Can you relate?
Grace Based Relationships
To be fully known and truly loved is what we need more than anything. Our hearts long to find people like this, because God’s love flows through these folks. We know that we can share who we are and what’s going on in our lives and we will still be loved. It is a rare friend that will both want to know us and still love us warts and all. To be a friend like this only happens when we are experiencing this kind of grace filled love ourselves. The primary place this unconditional love is found is in God. God loves us not because we are worthy, but because He in His vary nature is love. When we spend time soaking in His love in we become people that love others with a love that this world can’t explain. This grace based love is what we need more than anything. Pause and ask God to do a work in your life to become this kind of friend. This broken world needs more people that love others because they know how deeply loved they are by God. Know that you are so dearly loved by God, not based on anything you have done, but simply because He made you and He loves you more than you will ever know. Ask God to enable you to take His grace and extend it to others.