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The struggle for intimacy

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To know others deeply and to be known is to put an exclamation point on our humanity. It is to meet the second highest of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. He called it a need for esteem. When someone knows you intimately and chooses to love you, warts and all, that esteem, that value that th…
By Seth Barnes

no intimacyTo know others deeply and to be known is to put an
exclamation point on our humanity. It is
to meet the second highest of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. He called it a need for
esteem.

When someone knows you intimately and chooses to love you,
warts and all, that esteem, that value that they place on you as a person is an
echo of the divine “yes” that looks at what God has created and says, “It is
good.”

As such, it is no less godly a
transaction than the act of creation itself.

Yet it is a need that comes with a price tag on it – the
price tag of vulnerability and time. Human
beings are so prism-like, so wonderfully complex, they require thoughtful,
appreciative study – something so scarce today, a whole generation is growing
up obsessed with respect.

How do you respect someone you don’t know? You can give them the kind of general respect
that you give all living things, but you’ll still be skating over the surface
of their personhood like someone making the rounds after church or at a
cocktail party, polite smile pasted on their face.

This generation is at odds with itself and is saying, “That’s
not enough for me,” yet without really knowing how to feed that gnawing hunger for
intimacy that meets the esteem need. As
ministers of reconciliation, it is our privilege to model the possibility of
intimacy.

This may seem scary to you if you look at your circle of
friends and find few intimate relationships.
Where to begin? With an awkward
revelation of some super-private aspect of your life? Perhaps.
Or, begin ladling out the respect that others crave by being an
appreciative listener to what a friend is really saying.

Or, perhaps you could offer to pray with your
friends for the true cry of their heart. As Jesus-followers, we have a great advantage.
Jesus called us to intimacy as a first
priority. It is actually an act of
worship. Romans 15:7 says “Accept one
another…and so bring praise to God.”

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