Some Principles of Judgment in Relationships
1. Not to make a personal judgment about any person without knowing the person personally. “Do not judge!” (Matt 7:1) We have no reasons to subscribe to any other person’s judgment about any other person.
2. A person is not what he/she was in the past, but what he/she is in the present – we must be reminded of the power of God that can transform a person in the split of a moment; so, the situation of even an hour ago is not proof enough to make a judgment about the present situation. To condemn anyone as a hopeless situation is to deny the love and the power of God.
3. Christ is the Mediator in all relationships for a Christian.
The third principle is central to both 1 and 2 as well. I wish to elaborate my thoughts on 3.
The Vertical-Horizontal Mediatorship of Christ
Christ not only destroyed the wall of separation between God and man, but also brought down the wall of separation between man and man (Eph.2:11-16). Thus, we not only have peace with God through Christ; but, there is also peace among men through Christ. The word “through” is ultra-significant.
The Vertical Mediatorship unites the Horizontal Relationship. This makes possible the Communion of the Spirit. God only indwells an integrated house, not a disintegrated house.
Christ is the Mediator through whom we relate to God as our Father. Christ is the Mediator through whom we relate to our neighbor as neighbor.
Christ is the Mediator through whom we relate to all humanity as the beloved of the Father (John 3:16).
Christ is the Mediator though whom a friend relates to a friend, a husband relates to his wife (and vice versa), a parent relates to his/her child (and vice versa), a boss relates to his/her employee (and vice versa).
Any relationship that is not mediated through Christ is Christless – it bears no fruit (John 15:5).
Any relationship that is not mediated through Christ our High Priest is vulnerable to the enemy’s attack.
When we relate through Christ, the boundaries of the relationship are defined by Christ.
When we relate through Christ, the nature of the relationship is determined by Christ.
Christ as fully God and fully man is the perfect Mediator between God and Man, and Man and Man. The Mediatorship is individual and personal; not corporate – each one has the prerogative of making the choice to submit to His High Priesthood.
Christ’s Ubiquitous Centrality
The centrality of Christ in our relationships with people is not like a dot in the center (Fig 2).
His centrality is ubiquitous intra-relationally and inter-relationally. It spreads over and stands in the gap between every relation of ours, mediating each act and response (Fig 3). He must rule over our thoughts about ourselves and our thoughts about others. While it is possible that one has views and opinions that are disintegrative to the Body; we can affirm that such disintegrative thoughts are neither in Christ nor from Christ nor through Christ. The centrality of Christ in relation to each of us is like the relation of each part of the body to the other through the brain (Eph.4:15,16).
The analogies are physical but Christ’s Mediatorship is personal (intra-personal, Phil 2:5; inter-personal, Rom.15:7).
Christ is central to all relationships. His Lordship covers every avenue of our life.
“… the God-given reality of the neighbour with whom I live is given me through Christ; if not, my relation to him is on a wholly wrong basis. All our attempts to bridge the gulf between our neighbours and ourselves by means of natural or spiritual affinities are bound to come to grief. There is an unbridgeable gulf, and “otherness” and strangeness between us. No way of his own can lead one man to another. However loving and sympathetic we try to be, however sound our psychology, however frank and open our behaviour, we cannot penetrate the incognito of the other man, for there are no direct relationships, not even between soul and soul. Christ stands between us, and we can only get into touch with our neighbours through Him. That is why intercession is the most promising way to reach our neighbours” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
“But the same Mediator who makes us individuals is also the founder of a new fellowship. He stands in the centre between my neighbour and myself. He divides, but He also unites. Thus although the direct way to our neighbour is barred, we now find the new and only real way to him—the way which passes through the Mediator.” – Bonhoeffer
“When God Himself is between a husband and wife, where each person and partner in the marriage seeks to put the Lord first in their personal life, you know what will happen? They will be glued together. God is the greatest binding force in the universe. When He holds two people together, it is impossible for anybody to separate them; not the devil, not demons, not the whole world, not circumstances, not poverty, not even death. And if God is not there to hold people together, then people are held together by other forces. And the other forces are not as strong. I don’t know whether you have seen an advertisement for this adhesive called Fevicol. One of the advertisements I’ve seen, it is pictured in some of the bottles of Fevicol that they sell where two things are stuck together and on each side an elephant is trying to pull it. And they can’t separate it. When a husband and wife are joined together by God, it’s even greater than that. No elephants can separate them. No demons can separate them. No human beings can separate them. But they must have God in the middle. God is a greater joiner than Fevicol, or Araldite, or anything, or superglue. God in-between a husband and a wife will join them both together in such a way that nothing can separate them…. The way God did it from the beginning is the way a marriage is held together, where the Lord is first, and where each person has a relationship with God, which is greater than their relationship with each other. In other words, if you’re a husband, you must not seek to be first in your wife’s affection. The Lord must be first in her affections. And if you’re a wife, the Lord must be first in your husband’s affection, and you must be second. And those who put the Lord first and walk in the light, the Bible says in 1 John 1:7, “If we walk in the light as God is in the light, we have fellowship one with another…” And the two are held together. – Zac Poonen, Word for the Week (August 31, 2014)