According to the six degrees of separation theory, we could connect with people from all over the world through six people. The fact is that we are in various relationships with different people throughout our whole life.
Everyone has his own relationship circle. In today’s diverse and collaborative society, hardly anyone will live like a hermit, intentionally cutting off the relationship with the world. We become more and more dependent on our relationship with others.
To some extent, our characters are influenced and shaped during the interaction with people in different relationships, especially intimate relationships, such as family members and friends.
Relationship with others
Sometimes, we are recognised by our relationships with people around us. On February, I spent the past Chinese lunar new year with my parents in my hometown, where people didn’t see me very often. When I came home and met the old neighbours, I was greeted as my parents’ oldest daughter; when I visited my grandpa in the countryside, I was knowns as the granddaughter of my grandparents’; when my brother and my sister invited friends over, I was introduced as their sister.
It seems that our current relationship with someone often helps us to become known by a new person. The new person extends our social circle and we begin to know more and more people. Some of these people accompany us for a long time, some a short time.
Relationship with ourselves
Like an onion covered by many layers of skins, our true selves are disguised by surface relationships as well. Most of the time, we identify ourselves with our roles in relationships. We do our best to fulfil the obligation in these relationships, and finally rewarded as a good wife, a good daughter, and a good sister. However, except for that, who are we?
Imaging that you are split from all your relationships, including family, friends and colleagues. What defines your very existence? Is it the book you read? The clothes you wear? Or the job you do?
Instead of figuring out the truth of “core-self”, most of the people are busying in putting on fancy decoration on the outside and equating themselves with whatever they gained outwardly. However, since human hearts naturally fall away from God, their cores are corrupted. Therefore, what people do on the outside only becomes futile.
Relationship with God
If we can’t identify with what we possess, then who are we? If all relationships start with someone else, then where is the origin of this massive relationship net? If all relationships last only for a certain period of time, then what’s the core and essential relationship in our life? As a creature and a Christian, I think the answer points to our relationship with the Creator—God our Lord.
Our life is given by God as we are His glorious creation made out of His own image. (Genesis chapter 1, verse 26) Not only that, God sustains us for in him we live and move and have our being. (Acts chapter 17, verse 28) Moreover, we do all things through the strength God supplies, since we are the branches and he is the vine, apart from which we can do nothing. (John chapter 15, verse 5)
Whether you feel this way or not, we could only have sober judgement on ourselves when our relationship with God is right.
If you are asked to make a one-sentence introduction about yourself, what will it be? I conclude mine as the following: I’m a Christian, a sinner who is saved by God.
Cindy Cheng was born and brought up in central China. Cindy enjoys travelling and reading history books. Cindy is inspired by talking with local people when travelling abroad experiencing different parts of the world, as well as herself.
Cindy’s previous articles may be found at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/cindy-cheng.html