When relationships fall apart, a certain amount of your identity shatters into pieces. You look to others and the way they treat you for clues as to how whole you are as a person. If all is well, and others like you, you feel the freedom to like yourself. But when experiencing rejection, what does that say about you?
You begin life relating with people through a single pane of smooth, clear glass. Naïve, the clear glass grants others a transparent look into your life. Yet, not too long after having someone point out a little streak of dirt, you discover the challenge of keeping the window continually clean. Eventually, you grow tired of washing this window and decide to replace the clear glass with a colored pane altogether. Color better hides the dirt. Others will see into your life, but they won’t see everything.
But each time a relationship shatters, the colored glass goes flying, leaving you with the job of replacing the window. Maybe next time, a different color will keep others from seeing too far into your life, so as to keep your relationships feeling whole. Maybe a different color will keep the next relationship from breaking.
But all relationships become clear and focused when seeing them through Jesus.
Repeat the process of replacing shattered windows, and over time, you run out of colors to choose from. To avoid dealing with any future hurt, you may consider installing one last window and painting the thing black. At least black keeps others from seeing in, all but closing off the prospects for any future relationships.
More than likely, though, you pick up the multi-colored pieces from all the past, shattered relationships and try to fit them together to reform a semblance of life.
Imagine waking up to a world madly in love with you, an existence where those around you want nothing more than to have a deep, meaningful relationship with you. How much better would life live? The pedestal others placed you on would elevate the status of your thoughts and opinions, not to mention your hopes and dreams. People would push the pause button on their own lives, stop what they were doing to listen to you, and then lend a hand in helping you bring your highest aspirations into reality. Even when you spoke a misguided word or took an occasional step out of line, what you said, and what you did, would receive quick forgiveness. To gaze deeply within your relationships, you would see just what a darling you really are.
Unfortunately, the world doesn’t offer you this kind of a relationship.
But God can.
You are His darling. He put you into Christ. There’s no higher place for you to go. When you speak to Him or ask Him a question, He stops what He is doing to listen, even when you talk silliness. He gives you both the desire and the power to reach your highest aspirations. He made you to dream, because He too is a dreamer of dreams. When you do happen to fall out of line, He easily forgives, because after all, you can never fall out of Jesus.
This is the relationship God has with you.
But this isn’t necessarily the relationship you have with God.
For years, you’ve been living behind a stained glass window. One-by-one, you’ve fitted and formed together the different colored pieces of past, failed relationships. To you, each color represents a lesson learned. To look at the stained glass window is to glimpse into your own relational past.
But don’t forget, glass allows a see-through in both directions. What you’ve done with the color to mask what others can see about you has clouded your own view of them. You see relationships through the same color you’ve been hiding behind. Not only have you hidden yourself from others, you’ve prevented yourself from seeing others clearly.
And that creates a problem for you in your relationship with God. You can’t see Him clearly either. The view of God always looks skewed when seeing Him through your stained glass window. Pick any color, take a peek through the glass, and you’ll see a relationship with Him that looks just like an earthly one you’ve had before:
*Seeing a father who never showed you much interest makes God suddenly appear very distant.
*Looking at a mother who constantly harped on your flaws turns God into someone you can never please.
*Watching a spouse control you, enduring verbal put-downs leads to a God who refuses to give you any security.
We tend to define our relationships with God on how we define our relationships with others. We see God acting in our lives, as we act toward others, or as others act toward us. In either case, God’s character comes out looking like something it’s not.
But there’s another window to the world and to God that you can look through. To see through this window allows you to see life clearly. Through this window, the world and God make sense. It’s the window of Jesus, that on the day of your conversion, God installed inside your heart. This window guarantees that you no longer need to hide from God, and that God will no longer hide anything from you. Through the window of Jesus, you see life for what it really is; unfolding in the moment, working on your behalf to draw you into a deeper, more intimate relationship with God.
Yet, even with Jesus in your life, the stained glass window remains. Of course, you cannot look through this window and Jesus at the same time.
Each moment, you must choose from what perspective you will look at life and others through.
God has a way of allowing relationships with others to reflect your relationship with Him. When you spend too much of your time relating with others through your stained glass window, more than likely, that’s how you’re relating to God. Relating with friends and family from behind the colored glass usually indicates that in your relationship with God, you aren’t seeing things clearly.
But all relationships become clear and focused when seeing them through Jesus. So when a relationship with another endures from behind your stained glass window, God uses the experience to say something to you about your own relationship with Him. He allows the situation, so that you will turn your gaze upon Him. Through Jesus, when you fix your view on God, it fixes your relationship with Him. And when this happens, although not every earthly relationship will reconcile, after all, the other party may not seek harmony, at least through the process, God makes you whole.
The fix for any failed relationship is to allow the failure to fix you, to move you away from the stained glass window and instead looking at life with clarity, through Jesus.