Saturday, August 11, 2012

Human Relationships: Reflecting the Trinity


As we have seen in this series of posts, God’s Triune nature is echoed in His creation, His attributes, His prescribed patterns of worship, and in mankind created in His own image. Even in our relationships to one another in our community, globally, and to Our Creator we again see groups of three playing a central role.

The grammatical construction of all languages describes all relationships in terms of three persons: first person (I and we), second person (you), and third person (he, she, and they). The basic unit of society is the family, which in its simplest complete form is father, mother, and child. Even though Jesus Christ had God as His Father and was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:16-20), He began His earthly life in the family comprised of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. (Luke 2:16).

God has structured these elemental family relationships by commanding children to honor their father and mother (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16); and fathers not to drive their children to anger, but to raise them with the loving care and correction of God Himself (Ephesians 6:4).  This basic pattern should prevail in all our earthly relationships: the person in authority leads not with brute force but with self-sacrificing love and Godly example, and the person under authority respects, honors and submits to the one leading them (Ephesians 6:1-9).

The marriage itself can be viewed as a relationship among three, with Christ at the Head, the husband submitting to Christ and loving his wife self-sacrificially, and the wife submitting herself to her husband (Ephesians 5:20-33).

Our position in the life cycle and in extended family life can broadly be divided into childhood, adulthood, and old age. In childhood, we depend on our elders for our physical and spiritual nourishment (Luke 11:11-13). In adulthood, we may marry and have children, providing care for our loved ones and for others in our community. In old age, we may again depend on adults to care for us if we are physically or mentally infirm (Mark 7:10-13), or we may be blessed to mentor others through our wisdom and experience (Titus 2:2-5).

In other societal groupings, many relationships can be categorized into three levels: self, superiors, and subordinates. For example, a worker reports to his employer, but supervises his secretary. A teacher answers to the principal but is responsible for her students.

Whether applied to the basic family unit, to work or school environments, or to friendships, Solomon’s metaphorical wisdom is that a cord of three strands cannot be easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). In Old Testament law, two or three witnesses were required before someone could be accused (Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15; Matthew 18:16, etc.), and in the New Testament, Jesus promised that God would be present whenever two or three worshippers are gathered in His name (Matthew 18:20).

The Bible gives many examples of relationships among three persons. The sons of Noah (Shem, Ham, and Japheth) were the progenitors giving rise to the southern, middle, and northern peoples after the flood  (Genesis 10:1). The three Hebrew boys refusing to renounce God and delivered by Him from the fiery furnace were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3). The three apostles in Jesus’ inner circle were Peter, James, and John, as these three witnessed His Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-2) and were invited to go further into the Garden of Gethsemane with Him to pray on the eve of His crucifixion (Matthew 26:33).

Three-person relationships within the human family and within society mirror the association of self to others and to God. If we imagine ourselves as located at our home base on earth, we could draw a circle around that point to indicate others within our circle of influence. The radius of that circle depends on how far we can travel and on the sophistication of our communication devices. Nowadays, anyone with an Internet connection theoretically has a worldwide circle of influence.

Our individual relationships with others may vary, particularly in our local communities, so that we may be in a position of higher authority over some (e.g. our children, our employees) and in a position of submission to some (e.g. our employer, law enforcement, government leaders). But as we travel further away from our home base, those in our circle of influence are more likely to be in positions of equal footing relative to one another (for example, all of us connected on the Internet).

If we think of our circle of influence on earth as a base, and we draw an imaginary line upward from the center extending infinitely high to God, the enclosed space would be a three-dimensional structure symbolizing the meaning of our existence: ourselves in relationship to others and to Our Creator.

No matter how much or how little authority we have in our earthly relationships, He regards us all as equal in His sight (Acts 10:34; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11). We must all submit to Him, either in this life by placing our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and in His completed work on the cross (Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 15) or at the day of judgment when those who rebelled against Him will bow the knee and confess that He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings (Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 17:14; 19:16).

May we all choose in this life to recognize Christ as Lord and enjoy eternal, abundant life (John 10:10) with Him here and in Heaven (John 3:16), rather than once it is too late to avoid the just punishment of eternity in hell (Matthew 10:28; Luke 16:19-31).


© 2012 Laurie Collett




25 comments:

  1. I hadn't ever reflection about Trinity in this way. Greetings for You :)

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  2. Each of these illustrations help one get a better understanding of the Trinity, although none provides a complete understanding.

    Thanks.

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    1. Good point, dfish -- it's like the many names of God -- each gives us a different glimpse of Him, and yet none of them tells the whole story.
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  3. You bring out Biblical content that I've never seen. This "3" was a blessing to me.

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  4. Thanks so much, Pamela! You and your writing are a blessing to me also!
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  5. WoW! You have done it again Laurie... these Biblical three's are just simply amazing.

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    1. Thanks, Wendy -- I really appreciate your encouragement! The patterns in God's Word are amazing indeed!
      Blessings to you,
      Laurie

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    2. Seriously! You continue to amaze me with what you find in His word!!

      Thanks for linking up with WIP Wednesday!

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  6. THAT was an amazing picture of the Trinity...God has His hand in everything :0).
    "...the person in authority leads not with brute force but with self-sacrificing love and Godly example, and the person under authority respects, honors and submits to the one leading them."
    So true...the balance can be challenging...being an authority over your kids/wife(for hubbys), and not being authoritative and tyrannical. Happens often in Christian homes if the one in charge looses site of this very important truth.
    BTW, I stopped by from Funki Planet :0)!

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    1. Hi Donna! Thanks so much for your visit and thoughtful comment. May we follow Christ's example of perfect leadership and servanthood in all our relationships.
      Hope you'll be back soon!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  7. I'd never looked at it that way! Thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Lori, for your visit and kind comment!
      Blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  8. The number three - The Number of Divine Perfection :) Awesome! Wonderful series you have going here.

    http://thejoyfulservant.com

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    1. Thanks for your sweet words. Ms. Kathleen! Praise God for His Divine Perfection!
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  9. You caught me with the grammar connection and then drove home your point with the number connect! I think in all situations, whether leadership, mentorship, we need to responde as the Father responds, with love and encouragement! Excellent eductional post!

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    1. Thanks so much, bluecottonmemory! You're so right, if we emulate the Father in all our relationships, we will all be blessed! Just heard a great message on the Prodigal Son -- His Father is a beautiful example for us all.
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  10. Um, I ditto Mary Beth...you amaze me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and wisdom with us and for linking to the spotLIGHT series.

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    1. Hi deanna1220 -- I am blessed by your comment! Thanks for your lovely words & also for hosting spotLIGHT.
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  11. Laurie:

    I look forward to these posts each week. It's amazing how so many thing point to the Trinity, but then again, we serve an amazing God!

    Blessings,
    Joan

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  12. Thanks so much, Joan! I am so glad to hear that you are enjoying this series! God is amazing indeed!
    Blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  13. Amen and thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite things hop xo

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  14. Thanks, Katherines Corner! May you have a blessed week in Him!
    Laurie

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