The Relational Operator

[fusion_dropcap boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”4px” class=”” id=”” color=””]W[/fusion_dropcap]hile Moral Operators are more focused on the concrete aspects of “law and truth,” Relational Operators are designed to prioritize emotions and abstract concepts, such as love and grace.  God’s Relational Characteristics, especially those espoused by Christ, are essentially written on the hearts of those who are Relational Operators.  These characteristics include love, grace, mercy, desire for intimacy (into-me-see) with others, and affection.  God’s Relationship Character can be seen throughout the Old Testament as He continued to show mercy and forgiveness to His people, yet in the New Testament, God emphasized His Relational Side through His Son.  As we read the Gospels, we see the love of Christ towards others, his mercy through healing, his friendship with the disciples, and his desire to be intimate with the Father and His children.  The ability to feel and express emotions and desires are essential, and the failure to feel is a failure to reflect God fully.

The ability to feel and express emotions and desires are essential, and the failure to feel is a failure to reflect God fully.

As intimacy and connectedness is important to Relational Operators, the words and actions are interpreted through a relational lens.  If hearing someone speak the truth, the Relational Operator may tend to focus on how it was spoken rather than what was spoken.  What was the tone? Were feelings considered? Were feelings hurt? Was there an emotional response?  When considering the passage, “Speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15),” Moral Operators will focus on speaking the “truth,” while Relational Operators will focus more on speaking in “love.”  Both are important and necessary, yet we typically emphasize one more than the other.

While Relational Operators reflect God’s Relational Characteristics, sin has tainted the Image of God in us.  In light of this, Relational Operators are:

  • Relational Interpreters – Interpret through a Relational Lens. More sensitive to the emotions and feelings of self and others. More sensitive to words and actions that may cause emotional pain
  • Value Relationships – Rather be liked than succeed. Rather get along than be right. May suffer in a poor relationship than stand up for what is right or against what is wrong.
  • Feelings Focus – May make decisions based on feelings, or determine what is right by feelings. It may not be about doing what is right, but feeling right.
  • Abstract Thinking – Emotions, philosophy, thoughts principles & concepts – all of these are easier to comprehend that concrete items
  • Prefer the Intangible – Relational rewards, recognition of appreciation goes further than trophies or money (though it’s appreciated).  Knowing good was accomplished and people helped more important (feel good)
  • Emotional Intelligence – Typically higher in Emotional Intelligence than Moral Operators.

If you haven’t taken the Image Inventory, go back and take the Inventory now. If you are a Relational Operator, you can look at how far you landed on the scale. The further you are from Moral, the more difficult relationships will be, but the closer you are to the Moral side, the more likely relationships will be positive and intimate. But these are not set in stone.  If you were to take this Inventory throughout life, you’d probably be in different places at different times. While there are strengths and weaknesses in being a Relational Operator, the questions and challenge for yourself, “How will God use me as a Relational Operator? What does He want me to work on to become more like Christ (FYI – It’s to grow in truth!)? How can I grow in understanding of myself, my spouse, and my children and improve these relationships?” These are questions and challenges I hope to help you with in upcoming blogs and the book: “Image” (coming Winter, 2019).

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