One on one relationships are difficult for those with identity problems. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
Narcissists, for example, often do very well in crowds or groups but struggle in personal relationships. The famous line from Linus in Peanuts is, “I love mankind, it’s people I can’t stand.” We understand that. Individual people, persons, can be very difficult for us to enjoy. Individuals test our identity.
Basically, this means I can be whoever I want in a group. Groups require little from my identity. I tell them who I am. They might not accept me, but they don’t challenge my assertions about who I am. But individuals expect something more from us.
When I put myself out for you to see, I expect you to do the same. But if either of us is lying, the relationship is false. You may not be dealing with the real me. In a group that probably doesn’t matter, but in a marriage or almost any kind of personal relationship, it matters. People, individuals, want to know the real you or me.
I think it is fair to say that a group is an idea. A church or a club or even a family is a structure that defines the accumulation of individuals with a certain purpose or attribute. But a person is something real, something substantial. Dealing with a person is what defines us.
Now, I am going to step out on a limb here. I think it is very easy for us to keep God in the place of an idea. God has all kinds of attributes and we can say that we relate to Him sort of generically, but it is difficult for us to find our identity in relationship with an idea. Understand that I am not saying that God is simply an idea. I am saying that it is easy for many to think of Him in that way. In fact, I think that much of constituency of the church thinks of God as nothing more than an idea. He is the source of standards, judgment, provision, protection, and more—but they don’t really have a relationship with Him. He is distant in much the same way as a group is distant in their minds.
But Jesus is a person. There is something fundamentally different in God presented in Jesus. He is personal. He is an individual.
And in Him I find my identity. I am who I am in relationship with Him.