It is not possible for your disciple to separate his relationship with God from his relationship with people, as hard as he may try. To understand your disciple’s relationship with God you need to look no further than how he relates to people, including his parents and siblings. His relationships serve as a mirror for him and a window for you to understand how he relates to God. John, in no uncertain terms, irrevocably ties our relationship with God to our relationship with people when he writes:
If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:20-21)
It is a contradiction to give the appearance of having a relationship with God and yet have discord, jealousy, selfishness, dissension, hatred, and envy with people. Your disciple’s relationships will either expose a facade of religion or affirm a genuine relationship with God.
- Making disciples in community gives your disciple the opportunity to learn how to love others and to receive love from others.
- Making disciples in community gives you the opportunity to observe how each disciple relates to the others.
- Your community’s relationship with one another is an indication of how the community as a whole is relating to God.