Relationships are far more important and powerful than most people imagine. They influence our choices, our path in life, and our other relationships more than we typically realize. Our relationships stand at the center of life, affecting our attitudes, our behaviors, and our future—for better or for worse—depending on the character of those closest to us. Relationships forged on the battlefield turn even total strangers with little in common into a band of brothers. Parents feel a bond so close to their children that they would spare no expense to address their needs and help give them the best start in life they can. The love of a husband and wife for each other properly involves mutual sacrifices that neither one really views as a sacrifice.
We can act with amazing nobility when people really matter to us; in fact, we can make sacrifices unheard of in any normal situation. And the stronger the relationship, the more natural all of these actions become because they are rooted in the deepest kind of love. Yet, somehow, while we can see this with a hurting child or in protecting our spouse, we throw up our defenses to such things in a spiritual relationship. This reveals that—no matter how much we might like to think otherwise—we value our physical relationships far more than our spiritual ones. And that includes the relationship that should be the most important to us: our relationship with Jesus Christ.
At a pivotal point in Ang Lee’s 1995 screen adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic Sense and Sensibility, the two sisters, Elinor and Marianne, have a touching conversation about the man who broke Marianne’s heart. Having learned background information related to the young man’s motivations for breaking off with her younger sister, Elinor attempts to comfort her with the assuring words, “Whatever his past actions, whatever his present course…at least you may be certain that he loved you.” But Marianne’s response, written by Emma Thompson in this award-winning screenplay, reaches to the heart of not only this failed fictional relationship but also of all relationships. She replied, “But not enough. Not enough.”
So it is in a relationship with Jesus. Many people claim to love Jesus dearly. And I do not doubt them. But a disciple’s love in a relationship with his Master is defined not only by loving Him, but by loving him…enough.