“It’s not wealth that has made me happy. It’s my family.”
So said the popstar, Sting, in an interview. He comes from a poor working class background in the north of England, but now is wealthy. Do you agree that what’s most important in life is not our money or possessions or achievements, but our relationships? I believe that in life, relationships matter.
Dartmouth Medical School did a study concluding that children’s brains are “hardwired to connect.” The report states that, “more kids than ever suffer from depression, anxiety and attention deficit and conduct disorders.” The report went on to say that, “the lack of connectedness in society” is partially to blame. Without close relationships in our lives, stress and anxiety levels are more likely to increase. Yet, in our technological society close relationships are becoming harder and harder to maintain. We smile when we see people sitting at the same table buried in their iPhones rather than talking. Then we realize we sometimes do the same thing.
Meaningful and balanced relationships are essential to living a healthy life, and when these relationships are broken, the impact on everyone is enormous. While we all appreciate the tremendous advances in our technological society, one of the down sides is that human touch and relationships may suffer. If we are not careful, we live life at such a hectic pace that even in our families and homes we don’t take time to speak, to eat together, to pray and play together, and to have fun together.
Research has demonstrated something we instinctively know – without human touch, babies and toddlers are emotionally stunted. Relationships are first experienced, learned, and modeled in the home. In our hi-tech world we need hi-touch.
I am thankful for my wife, who loves me in spite of my many imperfections and failings, and for a family that enjoys spending time together. But I confess it is so easy to get off target, and to neglect our relationships with family and friends. We can easily take one another for granted, get self-absorbed, and fail to nurture what really matters. Then marriages and relationships may quickly fall apart.
One of the reasons I am a follower of Jesus is that through His power and forgiveness, I am able to have a relationship with God, who has made each of us in His image. The triune God made us for relationships and community. Simply put, we need one another. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, came into our world of failures, dysfunction, and loneliness so that we can know and love God. Loving God and trusting God are central to who we are. The Lord God loves us, cares for us, and has created us with a capacity to know Him personally as our Creator and Savior.
When I am struggling in life, it generally means that I am neglecting my relationship with God. The more I experience His love and forgiveness, the more I love and forgive others. Then the relationships in my life will become a higher priority.
Are you struggling in your relationships? Ask God for His help and forgiveness. Then with God’s power strengthen your relationships within and beyond your family. Let others know how much you appreciate them, and plan to spend time with them. Your goal is to have relationships which are mutually joyful and enriching – and which don’t depend on an iPhone.