How different would our relationships be with one another if we were in a circle of relationship instead of in a chain command or “great chain of being?”
What if we examine our existence with one another? It’s probably something we don’t like to think about . . . But we do like to exist in chains of command rather than circles of relationship. It’s safer that way because we know where we stand.
Watch groups of people interact. MOST of the time (but not all) personalities will emerge and “someone” will ultimately be at the top of the chain of command. Then, the rest of the people fall in place, even if it is not official, they will rank themselves in their minds.
It’s hard to exist separate from that hierarchy. But hierarchy has no place in relationships.
Last week I took a few days off to spend some time with our daughter, Layne.
Upon our return flight, we found ourselves sitting in the middle of 50+ Ole Miss students awaiting their flight. Feeling VERY OLD, grumpy, and tired (since it was 4:45 am) I asked Layne if we could change our seats.
As we moved to the side, it was interesting to watch the group interact with one another. It didn’t take very long to observe a “chain” of command. There was a very charismatic young woman who when she spoke, even if it was to the two girls by her side, people six rows over were trying very hard to imitate her actions.
As the “leader” of the group spoke, laughed, danced (yes, there was some dancing), all 50+ students would stop and put their focus on her. I doubt the girl “asked” for this type of power. However, by appearances, she seemed to have authority within the group.
While the human systems we’ve designed over the millions of years of our existence lend themselves to hierarchy, we were not created to be in hierarchical situations with one another.
We were created to be in RELATIONSHIP with one another; a circle of unity, not a chain of command.
Whether we are aware of it or not, as humans we have relationships of power.
Have you ever heard the adage, “Who wears the pants in the family?” That statement alone is one that reflects our need for power.
In The Shack, Papa was trying to explain to Mack the Trinity. “Mackenzie, we have no concept of final authority among us, only unity. What you are seeing as you see us interact is a relationship without any overlay of power. We don’t need power over the other because we are always looking out for the best. The Hierarchy would make no sense among us. This is your problem, not ours. Humans are so lost and damaged that to you it is almost incomprehensible that people could work or live together without someone being in charge.”
We don’t go through life thinking about our relationships as places of power, but they are. It is subconscious yet it is there. We begin to view each other as “objects” to be manipulated, not people. We manipulate and manage one another for our own happiness.
“Authority as we think of it, is merely the excuse the strong ones use to make others conform to what they want.” (125)
What if we started treating our relationships as situations of unity and not that with overlays of power? How might our day-to-day existence be different?
So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it! Jesus, staying true to God’s purposes, reached out in a special way to the Jewish insiders so that the old ancestral promises would come true for them. As a result, the non-Jewish outsiders have been able to experience mercy and to show appreciation to God. Romans 15:13