I am not sure if there is anything more egotistical and self centered than the idea that people are projects to be worked on. As if people are not on your level and it’s your job to make sure they get what you “have”. I have been so guilty of this in my life. Viewing relationships as if I was providing some valuable resource that determines the level of success or progress in someone else’s life.
I do not say this as to diminish what someone is able to bring to the table in a given relationship. I believe with every fiber of my being that it is in community that we discover or true selves. We need relationships because people draw out things in us that we can not bring to the surface by our own means. You have many valuable things to offer the people around you, so do I, but the problem is when we approach community with the mindset of superiority. Friendships become experiments, people become projects, as we lose all since of mutual relation. It becomes about what we can do for people verses valuing said people and growing together and sometimes what we think people can do for us.
I can honestly say the habit of treating people like projects was much more prominent in my life when I was a pastor. Maybe that is even where it started? I am not sure exactly when it started but I definitely can recognize it the most in that season of my life. I assume it started out with good intentions, (What is it they say about good intentions again? Something like the path to Hell is paved with them? Haha!) but ended up in a very unhealthy and damaging place.
I am still learning to get out of the way.
Still learning how to be a friend.
I am reminded of something Paul says in the beginning of his epistle to the church in Rome,
For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutuallyencouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
This is the backbone of ecclesiology.
This is the backbone for life giving relationships.
It is not about what someone can do for us.
It is not about what we can do for someone else.
It is about sharing life; the good, the bad, and everything in between. So let’s get busy enjoying each other, and mutually building life together.
Through whom, to whom, and for whom all things exist.