We relate to Jesus through the lens of our life experience, whether we are college students, young moms, middle-aged executives, or retirees. Our experience of life is obviously different for each person. If we learn as a child that we are not worthy of love or that others are not capable of loving us, we will struggle to form close friendships with others, including Jesus. What is amazing is that, in Christ, our lens can change!
We all have a relationship style, whether we are aware of it or not. Four basic relationship styles have been identified based on answering two critical questions: 1) Am I worthy of love? and 2) Are others capable of loving me?
Throughout the stages of life development, we are forming a sense that we are either loved or not. We also learn whether others can love us based on their response to our needs. For example, as babies, we develop a positive sense of being and well-being when our needs for warmth, touch, comfort, and food are met. This communicates care and safety while reducing stress. When this is our childhood experience, we are more likely to form close, trusting relationships with others. Being conformed to the image of Jesus includes our “lens.”
How would you describe your relationship style? What are some of the people, events, or circumstances that have shaped it?
K. Bartholomew, “Avoidance of Intimacy: An Attachment Perspective,” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 7 (1990): 147.