Relationships might be the last place you’d want a third wheel – we all want to get on faster and who needs a third wheel anyway? But real relationships aren’t built for speed, and every one of us (if we are honest) has limited experience and short legs when it comes to relating to others. We need a middle wheel. We need a mediator.
I noticed this when I was meeting with a friend and his wife a while back. It was amazing to me that I could hear what she was saying and what he was saying but neither one of them could hear what the other said; there was too much junk in the way – too many hurt feelings, too many broken promises, too many unforgotten (and unforgiven) words in the air. But I had none of those hindrances so I could hear what they said and then tell it to the other person. I realized that God was allowing me to walk in the place of Christ, The Mediator, and the reason this couple was having such a problem was they had lost their third wheel and they were just spinning in place – no stability, no direction, no motivator. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian, said:
“Without Christ there is discord between God and man and between man and man . . . Christ opened up the way to God and to our brother.” (Life Together)
We cannot have an authentic relationship without a common intersection – without something which exists for both the individuals involved. Think about it, a true connection with someone has to happen at a precise point of agreement and commonality. Its how relationships are formed; we find ourselves relative to something, a movie, or a book, or an experience, and then we find someone else relative to that same thing. Remember that? How you talked about it for hours and hours when you first met someone? For human beings full of perceptions and assumptions and alternative points of view; and most especially full of change, maintaining a relationship based upon objects or experiences is difficult. Ultimately it is impossible. We need something that doesn’t move so we can always relate to it and then to each other. And everything in the world moves. Jesus Christ offers us a point of intersection where stability and mobility exist in perpetuity, not because we work so hard to maintain it, but because he gives it to us. If you are having a difficult time in relationships, maybe its time you got a third Wheel.