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Chapter 26 - Acquaintanceship, the Foundation of Relationship
Computer dating services seek to establish relationships between people who have never met by pre-screening for similar interests or characteristics. However, most relationships grow from those with whom we are already acquainted. Those we work with, classmates, neighbors, or fellow church members often constitute a pool of people from whom a deeper relationship might arise.
At the most basic level of acquaintanceship are those people we recognize, but of whose name we are uncertain. The next level would be someone whose name we have come to know, but have little other information. The next level might be like the security guard at work whom we pass each morning and make a brief comment about the weather or the local sports team.
It is when we start to know more about a person such as the names and ages of their children, their personal history, or future plans and ambitions, that we begin to build a relationship. The biggest reason for acquiring this information is the time spent together.
Curiosity can start a relationship as one asks questions about another, one shows interest. However for a relationship to grow, interest needs to expand into concern. The expression of concern is a signal that one might be trusted with that which is potentially embarrassing.
For the Christian, a church can provide many acquaintances from which he would expect to find those with whom he could develop deeper relationships. One might be surprised that Satan has been so successful with providing prosperity and entertainment as well as constraining time, few people will have the time or be interested in deeper relationship. Often few have burdens that one can share and most feel their participation in church events fulfills their Christian requirements.
The more mature Christian may have to exist in relational poverty until such time as someone encounters difficulty in his life or is moved by the Holy Spirit to draw nearer. However, usually this stirring is directed to the pastor or pastoral staff such that there is little for the average Christian to do to live his faith within organizational Christianity.
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