Why Relationships Fall Apart

Why Relationships Fall Apart
Robert Wurtz II 

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:14 ESV)

What do you suppose would happen if unexpectedly all the   mortar that is holding every brick and stone together were suddenly gone? Our entire civilization would be in a heap of ruins. Everything would come crashing down — destroying anything in its path. Buildings would implode; bridges would collapse; walls would fall over. We pay little attention to the mortar holding things together until it is gone. Paul used this concept of a “bond” or “binding force” to describe the importance of love. 

It is sad to realize that many relationships begin, and are held together, by something other than love. It is not unusual for young couples to kick-start their relationship by victimizing themselves in order to stimulate “sympathy” or “pity” in the other person. It’s the oldest trick in the book. How does it work? Tell all the sad personal stories that you can remember; make them as pitiful as possible and try to get sympathy out of the prospective girlfriend or boyfriend. Anyone is liable to be thrown under the bus during these episodes. It’s used so often because it is generally effective; however, it is akin to pouring gas (petrol) in the fireplace because your wood is wet. It may start a fire, but it is likely to burn everyone up in the process. 

If a person has to throw their family and everyone else to the wolves in order to get a little sympathy, I suggest the relationship is doomed anyway. If I have to say something that will cause a person to hate someone else — just to get them to feel sorry for me, there is a serious problem. This is not love, and the relationship is doomed to failure. Nevertheless, this is the kind of false-footing that many relationships begin with; and it causes all kinds of love related issues down the road. 

The Right Method 

Our passage in Colossians 3:14 begins with the phrase, “And above all these…”. This is the final binding garment (as it were) that will anchor and tether all godly attributes. “Above all” is a phrase that escalates love to the highest level of importance. The “these” that he is speaking of is the list in Colossians 3:13-14. As we look at this passage let us settle this once and for all in our minds. The subject of love is not secondary, or even primary, it is at the very top of our religion and faith. A thousand subjects may be spoken on within any given day within the Body of Christ; but none excel past this one. 

The Binding Power of Love  

Our next phrase is “which binds everything together….” The picture here is that of a girdle that binds together all other aspects of the clothing. It was a foundational connective garment. Like an over garment, love is to be “put on” over the top of everything in Colossians 2:18 in order to hold it all together. 

Within the range of meaning in this concept is another picture of the binding power of tendons and other connective tissues within the body. These hold the various members together as a functional unit. This is how a knee functions or an elbow. Love is that binding force that brings cohesion to all things within the body. Without love, everything within the body of Christ becomes disjointed and dissimulated.

A Torn Ligament or a Herniated Area 

Our passage is a powerful picture of the essential binding force (love) necessary for the body to function. Any area of the body where love is not being expressed properly is a place “not holding” itself together.

Colossians 2:19 explains that Christ, the Head, has to be “held.” He has to be given His rightful place as the head and held there. (See Ephesians 4:16) If we allow Jesus Christ, the Head, to become disjointed because we are not moving in love for Him, we will allow other “loves” to become the head and rule our lives. Moreover, every member of the body is important and each one needs to be “held in place” by the power of love. Paul explains this in 1 Corinthians:

But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: (1 Corinthians 12:20-22)

 God set the members in the Body of Christ as He sees fit, but Paul tells us that love is essential to the functionality of all of those members. Non-love is to the body as a torn ligament or a herniated abdominal wall. It is a weak spot. In fact, if non-love is not dealt with soon, certain members of the Body may become disconnected or even rejected by others members of the Body. This is a particular concern in a time when scripture tells us that because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will wax cold. There is no replacement for water and there is no replacement for love.

Herod and Pilate were made friends and brought into unity, not because they loved each other, but by placing their hands on a common enemy and destroying Him. When love is not present to maintain cohesion and unity, then something will have to be substituted. Love can hold all things together in unity; however, hatred will sacrifice a victim to start a relationship, mend a fence, or maintain a friendship.

Real Life = Real Love

Jesus came into the world that we might have life and have it more abundantly. This is the very life of God that He pours out into us when we genuinely receive the Spirit. This is the life that empowers us to love. What does it profit to speak in tongues if we cannot love? The song writer speaks of “pouring our love on Christ”, but He has called us to also pour our holy love on one another in a binding unity. 

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:14 ESV

What things? Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:12-13 ESV)

Love binds this list together and holds it in place. It holds each of us together in place. What are we trying to substitute for this love? It will never do. We need it above all these other things, and that is quite a list. May God quicken our minds to this reality and show us how utterly determined He is to bind us together in love.

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