Once upon a time there was a man named John and a woman named Jane who were married. Jane was John’s night and day, the breath in his lungs, his all in all. John loved Jane so much that he stayed with her all the time. He quit his job and worked from home so he could be with her. When she went to the store, he tagged along. When she went for a walk, John was right there.
At first, Jane enjoyed being lifted up on this kind of pedestal. It felt good for a while to be needed so much. However, as time went on, Jane was not so much annoyed with John, as much as she felt sorry for him. As John continued to live this way, his soul shrank smaller and smaller. He became more petty and grasping with each passing day. Eventually, John became terrified at the prospect of being away from Jane. His fear led to anger, and his anger led to all kind of passive aggressive words and actions towards Jane. As the years passed, John’s soul withered under the crushing weight of his fear and anger until he passed away.
Pretty tragic story, right? This is a picture of dependence rather than interdependence. So, what is the difference?
As a follower of Jesus, I believe that we were made by God and for God. He is the One who fashioned and shaped us in our mother’s womb. He is the One who gives us every breath we breathe. He is the One who holds the universe together. He is the Lover of our soul.
However, because of our rebellion towards God, we don’t depend on Him for our life. We become either independent (where we simply depend on ourselves), or dependent (where we depend on something or someone other than God for our well-being). If we persist in either of these choices, they eventually lead to death.
But there is another way! The Way, the Truth and the Life—Jesus! If we choose to completely depend on Jesus and find our identity in Him, then we become part of the Body of Christ—other people who have faith in Him! As part of the Body of Christ, we are interdependent with each other. It would be foolish for a hand to say to the heart, “I don’t need you,” and vice versa. But neither can any body part depend on another for life—only Jesus can give us that. By being dependent on Christ for life, we no longer have to find our worth or our identity from other people, which makes us free to be interdependent with each other to experience His life.
A foot is connected to the leg, and they help each other. But can you imagine how silly it would look if one would try to consume the other, or if one would try to be the other? It would also be equally silly if one would try to be independent of the other. Either way would bring death!
As we stay in Christ, we can depend on Him for our life, which brings us freedom, and empowers us to be interdependent with each other. Then we truly live in love!