The French writer, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, said, “To love does not mean simply to look at one another, but to look together in the same direction.”
He’s right. Too often our view of love focuses on one another, and worse yet, is self-centred so that what I am looking for in another is that which would satisfy me. Gazing into another’s eyes – or using other people’s eyes as a mirror to see ourselves!
Such self-absorption often characterizes our relationships in the church. We talk a lot about relationships, but we think less about why relationships are important.
The focus of the first human relationship in the Bible was God-ward and outward, not man-ward or inward. Adam and Eve were brought together to serve the glory of God and to enable one another to more effectively fulfill that mandate. Eve was a help-meet, not a play mate. Their delight in one another was to be realized in that context. To focus on their marriage, their family or their relationship would have been idolatrous. To focus on God’s glory would have enabled them to know unspoiled intimacy.
Such thinking prompted Paul to write to entreat Euodia and Syntyche “to agree in the Lord” (Phil 4:2). As he goes on to say, these were women who had “labored side by side with me in the gospel”. They had previously looked together in the same direction, and now, as they looked at one another, their focus had shifted to their differences.
In the Body of Christ there are great diversities of gifting and personality and temperament. None of that is a hindrance so long as we are agreed on the direction in which we are walking. We love one another when those differences are laid aside because we know we have been joined together to look ahead in the same direction, toward the same God-glorifying goals.