By Revd Dr. Idowu Ibitoye
Relationship is as old as human existence, “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, …But the Lord God called to the man, where are you” Gen. 3:8-9. God was the first to relate with man. In this era Holy Spirit is the one relating with believers.
Relationship is a way by which two or more people, groups, countries deal with each other, and it is simply how people are connected to each other. Relationship is very crucial in human existence, no one can live in isolation, we both need one another. The ministry of Jesus Christ started and ended with relationship.
The necessity of relationship
Relationship is very necessary and crucial to human existence, we need one another in every facet of life.
i. Relationship is necessary for physical and spiritual growth.
ii. Relationship is necessary to gain more wisdom and insights.
iii. Two are always better than one, Eccl. 4:9-12.
iv. Problems are easily solved through relationship.
v. Organisation can experience tremendous progress through effective relationship and networking.
vi. No leader can achieve success without cordial relationship with his/her followers.
vii. Through robust relationship husband and wife will experience peace in their union.
viii. Parents who relate well with their children will be able to train them properly in the ways of the Lord.
ix. Teachers who relate well will impart knowledge and get excellent result from the students’ performances.
x. Student who relate well with the teacher is likely to be much better in academic activities than his colleagues and peers.
xi. Through relationship the church Pastor will shepherd his flock well and be able to lead the members through a glorious path.
xii. Mistakes are easily and quickly corrected in an atmosphere of cordial relationship.
xiii. Leaders can get the best feedback through relationship.
The dimensions of relationship
Man can have relationship on many different platforms of life. This platform may come in different phases and angles, or at any level of human existence. I hereby identify 5 dimensions, other people can identify more, these include:
1. Marital Relationship- This is a relationship that exists between husband and wife. It is a bond and a union that exists between the couple. This relationship makes husband and wife become one flesh (Gen. 2:23-24). This type of relationship is distinct and spectacular because it can only exist between a man and a woman who are solemnized to live together in holy matrimony. Couple should relate well, be the best of friend to each other communicate, play and always pray together. The type of love practiced here is Eros which is sexual or passionate love. Song of Solomon paints the best example of this love. Eros is practiced and it is important within a marriage relationship.
2. Friendship Relationship – This is the type of relationship that exists between two friends or more. It is Phileo kind of (love) relationship, simply brotherly love. Phileo is often shown within close friends. This is a generous and affectionate love that seeks to make the other person to be happy without expecting any returns. The best biblical example is David and Jonathan, in I Sam. 18:1-3, “…Saul’s son Jonathan was deeply attracted to David and came to love him as much as he love himself ….. Jonathan swore eternal friendship with David because of his deep affection for him.” This is a typical true example of friendship, when David and Jonathan met they because close friend immediately. Their friendship was based on commitment to God and not just each other. They never allowed anything to disrupt their friendship, even when Jonathan the prince of Israel knew that David will become the next King, he never allowed such to weaken their friendship, he even loved David the more and he supported David’s emergence as King of Israel, “Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. Don’t be afraid, Jonathan reassured him, my father will never find you, you are going to be the King of Israel and I will be next to you and my father, Saul, is well aware” I Sam. 23:16-17. This is a typical model for contemporary political or ecclesiastical office seekers, who usually go extra mile to ruin their counterparts in order to assume a position.
3. Social Relationship – This type of relationship may be casual or peripheral, a brief relationship with someone you met at a social gathering for few hours/days. Social relationship may be practiced among workers in a big establishment, where employees relates and catch fun together for relaxation and amazement.
4. Ecclesiastical Relationship – This is a relationship that occurs in the church setting, everyone relate freely, “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Gal. 3:28. There must not be denomination or racial barriers among believers, “for Christ Himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and gentiles into one people when in His own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us” Eph. 2:14. Christ has destroyed the barriers which we ourselves built between and around us, the removal of this wall allows us to have real Christian unity and true reconciliation with Christ. We are no longer strangers or foreigners; we are all one in the Kingdom of God. This is the type of relationship the ecumenical body tries to achieve through her intra and interfaith activities.
5. Mentor-Mentee Relationship- Mentoring is very crucial in the journey of life. A Mentor is defined as “one who shares wisdom with another. Also as the one who guides the development of another through the sharing of wisdom and the giving of care”. Mentorship is an avenue for a young leader to learn from an experienced and exposed leader (Ibitoye R.I., 2020). In an atmosphere of mentor-mentee relationship there is always an avenue for confidence and constant growth of self-esteem. Mentor-mentee relationship can also exist when a mature believer is helping the younger one to grow in faith and rooted in Christ. This type of relationship is needed in contemporary times in order to develop the younger ones. Moses mentored Joshua, Elijah mentored Elisha, Paul mentored Timothy and Titus, Paul mentored Timothy and Titus and Jesus mentored the twelve disciples. It is a biblical model of relationship for holistic spiritual growth.

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