Are Your Relationships Real?

Manti.teoCrazy.  Unbelievable.  Bizarre.  All of these words (and more) describe the incredible situation of Manti Te’o.

The 21-year-old Te’o, a star linebacker for the Notre Dame football team, has been ridiculed, questioned, and doubted for his role in the hoax that led him, the Notre Dame football team and the public to believe that his girl friend died of leukemia.

In the outside chance that you missed this story.  Sometime in 2009 Manti Te’o began an online relationship with a girl he believed was named Lennay Kekua.  Evidently there were facebook messages, texts, emails and phone calls.  But they never met!  Because she was not real!  She didn’t exist!

Then on September 12, 2012,Manti learns that his grandmother died.  Two hours later he receives a phone call from someone claiming to be Kekua’s brother saying she died!  Te’o then dedicates the season to his “dead girlfriend.”  If you follow  college football, the story has been big news all season.  In December Te’o learns this is a scam.  But allows it to be perpetuated through the national championship game with Alabama.  In an interview with Katie Couric that airs today,  Manti Te’o says that even though he was deceived by the existence of a fake girlfriend, his story, his pain and his emotion “was all real and that’s something that I can’t fake.”

Yes, I said this was bizarre!

Now whether you believe Manti Te’o was in on the hoax, or strictly a victim it says something about the nature of our relationships today.

It also raises a question.   Are your relationship real?  Genuine?  Heart-felt?  Or fictional?  Fake?  And  insincere?

It is possible to live with someone and not really enjoy a deep mutually satisfying relationship.  “You don’t even know me” is more than the stereotypical accusation of a disgruntled wife to her husband.  She wants to know that her husband understands her.  That he feels her pain.  Knows her heart.  Understands her needs.

Strong husband-wife relationships are built by sharing time together. Investing in each other.  Doing things together.  Enjoying conversation.

Just like real physical relationships require our time, attention and effort, so do spiritual ones.  Many Christians lament that they don’t feel close to God.

The Bible says, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

I’m reminded of the elderly couple taking a Sunday afternoon drive.  As they drive along, she begins to reminisce about their younger years together.  The good times they enjoyed.  They closeness they shared.  At one point she looks over  at her husband and says,  “You know, when we were younger and took these afternoon drives, we used to sit real close together.”  The old fellow tightened his grip on the wheel, and looked straight ahead and replied, “Well, I ain’t never moved!”

Guess what?  God ain’t never moved!  He’s still there.  Seeking your fellowship. Desiring your communion.  Pursuing your heart.  The Psalmist expressed it this way.

The Lord is near to all who call on him,

to all who call on him in truth.

He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;

He hears their cry and saves them.

The Lord watches over all who love him,

–Psalm 145:18-20, NIV

You see it’s possible to go to church, teach class, volunteer for ministry projects and never have a relationship with God.  We can go through the motions, but never have our hearts moved by His presence.  It’s possible to read  the Bible, but never internalize it into action.  And we may even “say our prayers” without really communicating and connecting with God.

Whether we’re talking about girl-friends, spouses or God, real relationships require effort. Demand personal interaction.  Involve communion.   And compel us to move beyond the surface of clichés to a deep, abiding and fulfilling  intimacy.

So, how are your relationships?  Real or Imagined?

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Culture, Relationships, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Are Your Relationships Real?

  1. Andy Diestelkamp

    Ken, thanks for the comments on relationships. I am presently working up some material on communication for a future class and I might use a line or two from your article if I may.


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