“As Is” Relationships

Have you ever ventured into that infamous back aisle at a retail store?  The one that is alternately referred to as “the bargain aisle,” “open box items,” “factory seconds,” “irregular” or “blemished.”  It’s my favorite aisle because you can often walk away with the pride of knowing you got a $100 jacket for, let’s say, 25 bucks.  The thing in my house I might be most proud of is the $600 kitchen table that we purchased for $150 because of a few scratches (which my son thought were lonely so he gave them friends).

You see the retail price, you see the marked down price, and a question immediately pops into your head – that question isn’t “Is something wrong with it?”  You know full well something is wrong with it.  The question is “What’s wrong with it and can I live with it?”

But the store is clever, they’ve anticipated this potential question in your brain.  So they add another little phrase to relieve themselves of all responsibility.  That phrase is “As Is.”  “As Is” means this sale is final, there’s no exchanges, no returns, and no refunds.  It’s as if they’re saying “You know there’s something wrong with it, we know there’s something wrong with it, so don’t come back crying to us about it. We said ‘As Is.'”

There may be no better tip on retail shopping.  As Cosmo Kramer so eloquently put it: “Retail is for suckers.”  Hat tip to my mother for teaching me this all important lesson.

And there may be no better tip on relationships either.  Doesn’t matter if you’re talking about family, friendships, girlfriend, or husband.  If you’re going to have any type of healthy relationship it will be on an “As Is” basis.  It’s impossible to have anything other, because we’re all sinful.  Even the best of us.  We’re all prone to jealousy, pride, anger, selfishness, greed, insensitivity.  Slightly irregular might cover the blue polo I bought for a discount, but it doesn’t quite cover the true condition of the human heart. 

But the thing we might tend to forget is that we’re called to be in “As Is” relationships – where it often feels like you give and give and give, and rarely get as much in return – because that is exactly the type of relationship Christ entered into with us.  He didn’t expect perfection, he didn’t even expect us to take the first step towards him.  No, he loves unconditionally, with grace and patience. 

What if our marriages modeled this?  What if I thought far more about what would please and honor my wife rather than what would please and honor me?  I bet my marriage would be better, less strained, and more fulfilling.

What if we parented this way?  Not out of a desire to simply breed comfort and peace in our homes, but out of a desire to do our best to give our kids the thing they desperately need; a dependent relationship with Christ.  I bet I’d be leaving a more important and longer-lasting legacy in my son than I am currently.

What if our friendships functioned in this manner?  Where we would be willingly to physically and figuratively lay down our lives for our friends, sacrificing time, energy, and freedom.  I bet I’d pick up that phone and keep in touch better than I do.  And I bet I’d be more willing to enter into real relationships which require vulnerability, honesty, and boldness. 

What if we had this perspective with our bosses?  Or the co-worker that simply annoys you?  I bet I’d be far more patient with them, and far more forgiving.

In short, what if we were all more Christ-like?  He entered an As Is relationship with us, let’s do the same with all those around us.

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