I was thinking this morning about the difference between being in a relationship with someone, and relating to someone outside of a relationship. I mean being in a love relationship, not simply a relative standing. A mother and child, for example; a husband and wife (or boyfriend and girlfriend) or simply a close friendship, rather than a teacher and pupil, or colleagues at work, or the other people you usually sit next to at church. Unless, of course, you also have a love relationship with those people.
When you speak, within a love relationship, your words – or whatever communication, for that matter – carry a different and special weight in comparison to words exchanged between people outside of a love relationship.
Perhaps it is a child saying to her mother, “You never listen to me.” Or perhaps it is a lover’s quarrel, and one says to the other, “I hate you!” These words say what they mean, but it is understood that their negative freight has a limit determined by love. On a lighter note, a sister might say to her brother who has just scoffed the last of the pudding, “You’re such a pig!” and it is understood that this contains more affection than condemnation. Or maybe not. But certainly, it could.
On the other hand, for one colleague to say the same thing to another at an office tea would be insulting, and no two ways about it. For a pupil to say “I hate you!” to a teacher would mean only just what it said.
Conversation within a love relationship is privileged, in a way that ordinary conversation is not. There is a freedom to speak without thinking, without censoring whether what you are saying will be acceptable, without worrying about whether you might be revealing too much of yourself.
In just this same way a Christian in a love relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ may share a conversation that is privileged. When (I really have done this) I have said to the Lord, “I hate You!”, He has understood that that was my pain speaking. When I have spoken too familiarly with Him, in a way that some would see as lacking in the respect due to the crucified, risen Lord of the universe, He has understood that this comes out of how close I felt to Him in that moment. And He has rejoiced in my honesty and openness with Him and underneath that in the foundation of my trust in Him.
What matters most to God is that we are in a real relationship with Him, not in a pretend one. And when you are in a real love relationship, that trust that is founded in love will let you speak freely with Him, as He will then speak freely with you.