From Objective Responsibility unto Relational Reality

OK, I realize that the title is quite the mouthful, but I thought it to be imperative that today’s blog bring a form of understanding and not diverse polarization. My intent in writing is to stir the reader into a broader perspective, perhaps even see something in a different way than what was seen previously. Sometimes during this quest, I find that some people feel that I am belittling their viewpoint. Let this not be the case, for I respect all viewpoints and understand that we are all in different places in our journey. Sometimes you will find yourself further in your journey than myself and therefore my view can be seen as a little immature, conversely perhaps there are times that I may find myself a little further in my journey. With that being said, let us move on to the topic at hand.

Objective Responsibility is the beginning point of any journey. We read the information and do what it says, in this way we protect ourselves and those around us from unknown dangers. An example of this can be the novice at a new job, without an understanding of how things work he finds it advantageous to be told what to do or in other words to follow the guidelines to a tee. Young children in the home need objective responsibility, “Don’t touch that” is often spoken to guide the child but also to protect from harm.

What about our spiritual journey? When we begin, often we have very little understanding as to what is needed to further our journey in a healthy manner, therefore we as leaders can create guidelines that may be of aid to those who require them. The problem is not the guidelines, sometimes a problem can arise when we hold on too tightly to the reins. If we think back to the young child, being told not to touch the stove can be of great benefit but when the child is 19 years old and we are still requiring them not to touch the stove, this can be seen as dysfunctional or even manipulative. Our job as leaders, like as parents, is to guide people from objective responsibility unto something far greater, which is relational reality.

Let us shift gears for a minute. God is a journey, a progressive journey from faith to faith, from glory to glory. God is not static, God is dynamic. God’s Name in Exodus 3:14 which we often translate as “I Am” in the Hebrew is actually “I Am Becoming”. Yes, God is the process of life, an unfolding dynamic reality in which we are part of, but unfortunately many never discover this, let alone partake of it.

Relational Reality does not require the need to be told what to do, for it has evolved into what we call maturity. Objective Responsibility has seared itself into our hearts to a point where we do not have to think about what to do in a situation, the reality within guides and leads us. We do not any longer require of our parents to tell us what to do, we have grown, we have evolved into that which the Bible calls perfect or mature. This process is healthy and necessary if we are to grow into truly relational people. Remember what the apostle Paul said to us in 1 Cor. 13:11 “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” Here we find that Paul was not diminishing the characteristics of childhood but was showing us the need to process forward and that to everything there is a time and a season. In life we find ourselves in different seasons, and the new season often requires of us to let go of certain things, certain ways of thinking, certain ways of reasoning, not that the previous way was wrong, certainly not, it merely fulfilled its purpose and now it is time to move on. If we try to stay in the old season after the expiry date, then we can find ourselves missing out on life and even missing out on the purpose of God for our lives. Subtle indicators of this happening can be the tendency to be quick to judge something that is different than what we are accustomed to. Digging in our heels when confronted with change, hanging on to yesterday as if there will be no tomorrow, unwilling to discuss a different point of view even to the point of diminishing the other to justify one’s own position.

Now I’m sure that what I am saying probably does not apply to you but in my own life I have found these very issues rise up at times in my own thinking thus causing me to address my own dysfunctional thinking and allow myself to walk the path unto a greater level of maturity.

Here is another way to look at it. When it comes to marriage, often we men function in the realm of Objective Responsibility, we do the things we think that will please our wives only to find out that it did not work. Thus, we go for counseling to find out what we need to do to fix the situation, unfortunately there is nothing we can do but grow up or mature. You see our wife’s desire is not so much having things done for her only, it is far deeper than that, her desire is that you want to do those things for her because of a Relational Reality. She wants you to want to do those things for her and not have to do those things for her.

Now remember this, the husband/wife relationship is an external picture of a greater internal reality of our relationship with God. Case in point, prayer; What is prayer and what is its purpose? From an Objective Responsibility point of view, prayer is what I need to do because that is what the Bible says, therefore I pray expecting it to please God and bring rewards into my life and when it doesn’t work the way I think it should, I find myself in counseling to find out what I need to do to fix the situation. Again, perhaps it is time to move further unto maturity because God is no longer looking for obedience as a child as much as He is looking for an intimate relationship, a Relational Reality. Children follow in obedience whereas a spouse walks along side as one.

If we continue in Objective Responsibility beyond the season, we may find ourselves devaluing the relationship out of a lack of depth. Again, doing what is right and what we should do has its benefits but in the end, we were created to evolve into something deeper, something that connects the desire with the actions. This something deeper called Relational Reality moves us beyond the objective into the land of the subjective and it is in this subjective land that we find ourselves feeling a little insecure because now we don’t have all the answers. Not that we had all the answers before, but at least in the land of the objective we felt more comfortable or dare I say, a little more in control.

Part of the discomfort in the land of the subjective is the fading of the black and white. Things are not as simple as we once thought them to be, and more often than not we find God in the gray zone. The Gray Zone! How Can This Be? Yes, it can be quite the awakening to discover that our absolute view is incomplete. Notice that I didn’t say it was wrong, but it is certainly incomplete. In other words, I don’t have all the answers and some of the answers I do have, perhaps I should look at them again under a clearer lens. For there is more to be discovered beyond our present understanding in the realm of Relational Reality and to further in this journey, we must allow ourselves to dip our toes into the land of the subjective, a land where there may be more than one answer and sometimes, dare I say, a land where no answer is found. This is truly where faith is experienced, and the Christ reality unfolds in ways that are far beyond what we can dream or dare even to imagine!


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