“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
In any design process we need to know what the finished product is supposed to look like. Who starts a puzzle by throwing away the cover? So our Master Designer did the same for us. He gave us a model: The Garden of Eden.
What if I said everything we need to know to navigate our way through life can be found in the Scriptures? Sounds simplistic, but think about it this way: are not relationships the currency of life? In the Garden we see this harmony. But why? Because they were “one flesh.” One flesh, is that really significant? We hear it at weddings all the time, but what exactly does it look like?
I was reading about a military Special Forces drill intended as a team building exercise. Two men are tethered together and then run through stressful situations designed to test their ability to function as one.
If one man sinks, they both sink. If one man fails, they both fail. If they get mad with each other, and refuse to trust and cooperate, they both die. They must learn to be patient with each other, always hoping for the best for the other. They delight in the other’s good. They don’t dwell and brood if one makes a mistake. Where’s the benefit of keeping any record of wrongs?
They must learn to view the other’s words and actions in a light most favorable to them. Have they evolved to super-duper maturity? No, they simply see the logic in acting as one. If they hold grudges it’s a miserable experience. If they self-seek, they self-destruct.
It sounds a lot like the Master Architect’s design for all our relationships: 4Love is patient, love is kind. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13.
I encourage you to learn to hope for the best for other people and view their successes and failure as your own, you’ll be practicing love for others this way. The few times I’ve been able to pull this off it was tremendous. It felt good and right and it felt like I was in God’s design. And most of the time it resulted in much more harmony than if I was in my usual self-seeking mode!