Yeah, we’ve all been there. We’ve all had a person in our life who was on the “user” end of the relationship, while we stood, frustrated, dumb-founded, and hands-in-the-air (but still hustling, trying to make it work), on the “used” end. No one likes a One-Way relationship. Whether the other person needs money, to be held up emotionally, or have all their homework done for them, they want us to adjust all of our life to build it around theirs.
Now, our better angels remind us that “they’re going through a tough time” or “I’d probably be the same way if I had their terrible home life” or “How do you think you’d act if you lost your job?” Those angels remind us that there are times when people have carried US in our need.
But, people who get carried around for too long, grow weak legs and get fat. That’s why we press ourselves to work hard, take ownership, claim responsibility, and suck it up when life demands it. No one becomes great (or even just responsible) if someone else carries us for long. There comes a time when all of us are supposed to be “big.”
big: realizing (and living like) life isn’t a complete exercise in being all about me.
Another way of saying, “I’m getting big” is committing: “I’m capable and willing to have a two-way relationship.”
Now, take it a step further. This one-way vs. two-way thing expands out from our individual relationships. It’s on this smaller and more personal level where we see it and feel it most, but the personal unfolds out into a larger framework. What if our society was made up of only one-way people? People who would only connect with other people to get something from them. People who only wanted to get–without giving?
What if that was society-wide? What if that defined all of your neighbors? Everyone at your job? The people you sat next to at church? What if it was your town?
How would you like that neighborhood, that job, that church, and that town?
But. What if your home, neighborhood, workplace, church, and town will built on a two-way architecture? What if none of us did only for ourselves? What if (because “two-way” was always our starting-point), we always considered our spouse before us, our co-worker’s path to success, our neighbor, our fellow church-goer, the other residents of our town? What if we thought, “It’s about more than just me. Because somebody carried me once and it got me through a critical time in my life.” A “big” neighborhood, a “big” business, a “big” church, a “big” town isn’t about its size. It’s about its character and its selflessness. It’s about a quality that says, “We’re two-way. It’s not just about what we get, but what we give.”
Remember that the next time your town has a referendum that means something to someone other than you, a village event needs volunteers, a kid sells lemonade on your street corner, when your church can do more good if everyone sacrificed a little bit more, or the wind blew a person’s garbage blew on to your yard. Are you one-way or two-way? There’s only ONE WAY TO LIVE: two-way. Remember, Jesus moved your direction first. He IS the way.