It has been said that addicts don’t build relationships, they take hostages. I dare say that that can be said for many more than just addicts. Because hostage taking in relationships happens every time I enter a relationship to get and not give. Every time a relationship is driven by a need to fill what is lacking in my life, we allow our personal insecurities, fears, and doubts to suck others dry and call that a relationship. We are, in reality, taking hostages.
My experience and observation is that we think of relationships as either a random or calculated collision of two individuals at a life intersection. We join internet sites to create a life collision as we wait impatiently at the dating intersection. We hover around locations with the hopes of intersecting with my future life partner. Those locations may be bars, churches, singles groups, social clubs or any other potential collision point.
The problem I have seen is that the focus is on meeting and capturing an individual instead of on a life purpose. My goal becomes about meeting someone instead of becoming someone. On finding a match rather than being matched.
I want to recommend another traveling metaphor for relationships, instead of a collision at an intersection, how “about merging on to the interstate”?
Relationships can be built as we all pursue a common goal and life focus. More specifically a relationship with Christ and service to Him. As we pursue this life purpose, we find ourselves merging with fellow travelers who share a common focus. We begin to interact with many of them and over time find ourselves connecting with one specifically that shares our passion, pace, and interests. Then, eventually we choose to merge our lives with them as we continue our common focus and journey.
I first saw this picture with a couple who were involved in campus ministry with me. They were together reaching out on the college campus, ministering to students, and they eventually began noticing each other and developed an interest. They gradually began merging their lives together and ultimately got married as they continued to minister on the college campus together.
This is my picture of a merging relationship and not one on a collision course. I believe this is a much healthier and holistic approach.
May God bless us all in merging our lives together and free the hostages.
Tom Reynolds hails from the Pacific Northwest, and spent 25 years in full time ministry in California, Colorado, New Jersey, and Alabama. Today, Tom is the Executive Director of His Way.