An infinite capacity to connect

By Dave Henning / December 17, 2017

“We have an infinite need for connection, and God has an infinite capacity to connect.”- John Ortberg

“Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.”- Psalm 139:4

As John Ortberg continues Chapter 8 of I’d Like You More . . . , he reminds us that God’s attention never wavers.  In addition, God always hears us.  We’re never alone.  Therefore, only God connects with the human soul in a way that meets our deepest desire.

However, the presence of four human relationship responses fosters building a wall of hostility.  John Gottman, a leading researcher on relationship and intimacy, identifies what he calls the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”:

1.  Criticism.  First, criticism differs from complaint.  As Pastor Ortberg notes, “Criticism is a complaint with a barb on the end.”  Furthermore, one simple question turns complaint into criticism: “What’s your problem?”  Finally, a critical spirit makes sarcasm an  ingrained habit.

2.  Contempt.  Gottman stresses that this response comprises the worst of the four.  He describes contempt as a “devaluing expression that may manifest itself through a looking, a rolling of the eyes, or a tone of voice.”  Also, contempt often involves verbal put-downs, a refusal to listen, or deliberate infliction of pain.

3.  Defensiveness.  When we can’t admit we’ve done something wrong, we get defensive.  As a result, we rationalize, minimize, evade, or deflect.

4.  Stonewalling.  Here, Pastor Ortberg wryly observes, “we may go away without leaving the room.”  We avoid eye contact, withdraw, go silent.

In conclusion, John adds, jealousy rears up when something precious is as stake — usually your kingdom.  Or, as Frederick Buechner wrote in Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC (1973):

“Envy is the consuming desire to have everybody else as unsuccessful as you are.”

Today’s question: What Scriptures help you experience God’s infinite capacity to connect?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: the Christmas Short Meditation, “Mighty Lord of all Creation”

About the author

Dave Henning

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