Monthly theme: Joy and Unity.
Reading time: two minutes.
The theory of emotional triangles suggests that when there’s anxiety or conflict between any two people, they will pull in a third party upon whom they can unload their issues. They let the third party bear the anxiety and they feel better.
Triangulation is usually seen as a harmful thing. Issues aren’t properly dealt with, and people get hurt.
I think Jesus triangulated Mary and John, but in a good way.
Work with me on this for just a minute. I might be a genius.
It starts in the Vine and Branches chapter, John 15. Why remain in Jesus? There’s joy and there’s unity.
Verse 11: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Verse 12: “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.”
Joy and unity go together.
Hatred and disunity also form a pair. In the rest of chapter 15 and into chapter 16, Jesus warns the disciples that those who hate the Father will also hate them. Nasty triangle, that one. People not living in harmony with God by grace will try to pull Christians into a triangle and dump their hate for God on someone else.
But Jesus continues that the coming of the Holy Spirit will be the living, active, “non-anxious presence” of the Lord himself, bringing the unity and joy shared within the Trinity to people like you and me.
There’s more. In chapter 17 of John’s gospel, Jesus prays for us. And for what does he pray? He prays for our joy, “…so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them,” (verse 13) and he prays for our unity, “…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” (verse 21).
The good triangle part comes in chapter 19. You know the scene: from the cross, Jesus binds Mary and John as mother and son.
And this is where unity and joy come together.
Jesus triangles himself into their relationship, and the cross on which he hangs is the key to their unity and their joy.
It’s as if the Lord is saying, “I know you love each other, but love is a fragile thing. I’m here now, and will always be present, so that you may know unity and joy.
“You two bring all your anxiety here to me. Whatever divides you, bring it to me. However you offend or hurt one another, you bring it to me. Redeemed and forgiven, live together in love, and your unity will bring you joy.”
Joy is a great indicator that a church worker is doing well in ministry.
Dissension and conflict suck the joy right out of us. When it does, we’ve been given a beautiful triangle. We meet Jesus at the foot of the cross, together we confess our sin against one another, and we find healing through grace.
I’m praying for a healthy shift in all of our triangles.
Thanks for reading.