June 11, 2017
One of the questions I try to ask myself when preparing a sermon or a column like this is whether or not what I am saying will make any difference to those who are listening in their everyday lives. How can our belief in the Trinity be important to us? What relevant insights can we gain for our lives about this mysterious reality?
The Trinity: Father, Son and Spirit, are all about relationship, and when you think about it, so are we. We naturally tend to form friendships, families and communities. Very few people are inclined to live in isolation because this goes against our fundamental nature as social beings and children of God.
Why is it that the Lord spends so much time in the gospel teaching us how we are to treat other people we live with, work with, and interact with, and how we are to love and forgive them? This is because we have been created in the image and likeness of God; and, like God, we are built to be in upright relationships with others, a reflection of the relationship between the three persons of the Trinity.
The people that represent the greatest blessings in our lives can actually be, paradoxically, the very persons that are often our biggest “pains-in-the-neck” (so to speak)! You know the type: the person at work that doesn't like you, or the relative that is ungrateful or owes you money, or the person that has said really hurtful things to you and isn't a bit sorry about it, or even someone you love who has an annoying habit you need to overlook. Sooner or later, these unavoidable people like this will show up in our lives. How is it possible for these types of individuals to be blessings?
Difficult people can actually be opportunities in disguise. Spiritual growth really has a chance to flourish when we are challenged by precisely these types of difficulties. Christ himself pointed out that there is very little merit for us in loving only those who love us! (Matthew 5:46). No, real merit, real growth in love occurs when we deal with difficult people in an upright and biblical way. When we even try to make the effort to be Christ-like around individuals who give us difficulties, we are actually imitating the Trinity, and that is very relevant indeed.