The dreaded relationship fish appeared at my dorm room about a year ago, hand delivered by my girlfriend (friend at the time). Now if I remember correctly, at the time they were not relationship fish they were buddy fish, that is fish given by a group of buddies who thought it quite humorous to give me fish after I specifically asked that I not be given plants or animals.
There they were, swimming around in this little tank one of my friends had sent me in the mail, I fed them with fish food sent from another friend, and was suppose to receive decorations and gravel from two other friends. In all the five of them conspired to give me fish. Supposedly my friend Scott was the mastermind, but my girlfriend was the follow through executioner, who made sure that I would get those fish.
After we started dating within the month, the fish soon took on a dynamic known as the relationship fish. It was not admitted to until long after I had them. Many of you wonder why the fish didn’t get the boot the first day after she left. Let me explain. I couldn’t bring myself to kill fish, especially if my friends just drop them on me. I fed them, cleaned their tank, and bought a bigger tank with a bubbler.
As spring of last year turned into summer, I bought a bigger tank, then a larger tank still, I use that term “tank” in a loose sense. It was actually a storage tub, the sides were bowing out and it was voted ghetto by everyone that came over (what do they know!). This tub was approx. 15 gallons so they were pretty much living in the Taj Mahal. I threw in some plastic seaweed, some new rocks, and of course a brand spankin’ new water filter/pump.
At this point you’re wondering how in the world did you ever get rid of this monstrosity? Instead of downgrading I was upgrading at a fast pace. You’d almost expect to see a manatee swimming around in a pool in the backyard by the end of summer. What happened was I pawned it off on my girlfriend at the end of summer as I was leaving, claming there wasn’t enough room in my dorm (which was true given it was a 15 gallon tank). She was gracious enough to take it. I think that’s when I realized she really liked me. She was even taking my jumbo storage tub filled with fish.
She downgraded the tank to a five gallon, one made of glass, the kind that is designed for fish. She moved them into her apartment. After a while she suggested I take it back, luckly she had bought a glass tank designed with panels, and my dorm doesn’t allow us to have that kind of tank. Then glory of glories, they changed the policy and we were no longer allowed to have any pets, fish included in our dorm. I don’t think she believed me for a long time but eventually the reality of the situation sunk in. She had been stuck with the fish. I was home free! And that my friends, is how you lose two fish.
What ever happened to those fish? She got sick of them and they were “returned to their natural habitat”. No, she didn’t flush them, she sent them into a pond, to swim with the fish. (Note: I don’t recommend anyone who receives relationship fish to dump them, find a way to give them back, trust me, its better this way)
On my one year anniversary of dating my girlfriend I thought I would be mushy and make up a little scavenger hunt with a prize at the end. It started with a card that on the back had a picture of the first place she was suppose to go. She reads the card, smiles, gives me a hug and sees the back of the card (at least that’s how I remember it).
She guesses where the first place with a grin and then is off in search of what could be there. She arrives and reads the card; it says something mushy and then has a picture of the next place she’s to go to. She can’t figure out what I drew and begins to poke fun at my drawing. At first I think it’s funny and then she says, “Seriously, I have no idea what this is suppose to be.” At this point she’s looked around the apartment trying to figure out what it is and has just about given up.
I give her a hint. She’s completely making fun of my drawing now. She finds the next card, looks at the picture and can’t stop laughing. If she thought the last drawing was bad, she was wrong. She has no idea what this is suppose to be. I thought she was going to fall over laughing or break into tears, apparently I can’t draw. She asks me if it is suppose to be a highway. I tell her "No, it’s a refrigerator." She asks me which one inbetween catching her breath and laughing. I point to the refrigerator and she laughs again. Then she asks again which one is the refrigerator! At this point I realize I shouldn’t have written anything nice on the cards, I should have just written knock knock jokes and drew clowns on the back…. Is that a highway? No, that’s a clown!
She finds the surprise at the end of the adventure and she laughs some more. It's funny now to talk about so I think it was a success. And the moral of the story is, drawing isn’t my spiritual gift. I know my third grade art teacher would be sad to hear it, but her prize student is now a highway designer. (no not literally!) Sorry Mrs. Muntz….
We have suggested above that the “image of God” in human beings is in some sense the capacity for self-giving, self-denying love. This, of course, has sweeping implications for the whole range of moral behavior. Above all, the one living out such love can be depended upon to be true in every relationship.
... as the apostle Paul so eloquently demonstrated in the book of Romans, even those who teach these things regularly fall short of them [because of corrupted state].
"The Bible holds that the Creator has a completely consistent ethical character. When it says that he is good, it is saying that he never acts in a way that is inconsistent with himself, nor withthe nature of his creation, nor with the best interests of his creatures. Thus, sin is not so much an offense against a divine law that has been promulgated by an immutable Sovereign, as it is a broken relationship expressing itself in a lack of conformity with the character of the Creator."
"In Romans 11:22-23, Paul clearly implies that belief in God is to continue to depend on his "kindness" whereas unbelief is to refuse to live a life of such dependence. If we do not trust someone, we will not believe what they say, and if we do not believe what a person says, we most certainly will not do what he asks. That is unbelief."
"There are also 4 occruances of apeitheia ("disobedience") that are used synonymously with apistia ["not belief" 12 occs.] (Rom. 11:30,32;Heb. 4:6-11). This synonymous usage underlines the fact that unbelief is not merely the absence of belief, but is an active refusal to act and live in faith." [Also see Mark 16:48; Hebrews 3:12]
- John Oswalt on Hamartiology (part of book in progress)