Undoubtedly no one who ever walked the earth compares with the Lord. He is the ultimate model of transformative relationship. No one who met Him in his earthly ministry could ignore Him without either accepting Him or rejecting Him. All these years later, the same is true. You cannot read about Him or hear about Him without making a choice even if it is not your intention. A decision not to choose Him means you have chosen to be against Him.
A transformative relationship results in a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of the person touched by it.
There is no question He alone can transform us, but I think He also desires to use each of us who know Him to be vessels of transformation as well.
As I look in the rearview mirror at my life, I see gleaming points of light where such persons were used to bring me closer to the Lord, clarify my understanding of who He is and who I was and was meant to be. Each of them walked into my life with listening hearts, gracious grace, merciful acceptance, unvarnished truth, and a love that would not stop believing in me and for me.
They didn’t preach at me or bombard me with scriptures or “how to’s. Instead, like Jesus, each took me where I was and modeled so much of Him that it was like I was reading a living letter that wooed me and moved me forward.
Could He have moved without each of them?
He can do anything, but I needed to see it lived out after wounds from others who said one thing and yet lived out something different.
There was a very petite woman with lovely white hair whose home was the location of a Bible study she and her husband hosted. That Bible study grew until the house could hold no more people. So it was moved to a local Christian college campus.
It launched a shift in the lives of hundreds of believers in their city, but several personal things were nagging at me. I kept thinking I would speak with this sweet lady at the end of a Bible study, but the time never came. One day I summoned up all my courage and called her to ask if we could set a time to get together at some point. I was shocked and unprepared for her to suggest I come that very afternoon.
When I arrived at her home and shared the burden of my heart, she took my hand and simply stated without any hint of uncertainty: “You’re going to have victory over this today.” She prayed for me then and though I could not recall her words, I knew something had shifted within me as a result of the time we spent.
At another point in my life I sought pastoral counseling. I needed to discover what the missing pieces were. The person who met with me walked patiently with me as I processed my life’s story to that point and gently pointed me toward truth, light, and the pursuing love of Christ. Even though I had known the Lord, some wounds remained unhealed and I could not accept that Christ could really love me. What stunned me most was after knowing all that, he invited me to be a part of his lay counseling team.
These two and a few others sparkle as I look over my shoulder. They were vessels of transformative relationship. I also caught something from them – I wanted to offer that to others so they didn’t miss Him.
When you have been touched by a transformative relationship it not only transforms your relationship with Christ, it infuses you with a desire to offer that to someone else.
And it’s not about a program or a script. It’s about a relationship.
Perhaps it’s because Jesus understands that our greatest wounds happen in the context of a relationship with another fallen person or two that we encountered.
He also knows that the context of relationship with a transformed person is what we need to be made whole and see Him as He truly is.