Performance and Relationship

Performance by itself is good. We all want to do well in life. A healthy person will want to and will perform well. The motivation to do well is intrinsic. The problem comes when we perform to gain something else. A typical 'something else' is love or acceptance or relationship.

Performance Can Never Get True Love Relationship
We were indoctrinated since young. Children are told to behave well and get a good result in schools so that their parents will love them. We are told to do good work, attend church activities regularly, be holy so that God will be pleased and will accept us. We fail to see that if we perform to get a relationship, to get love, then the object of the relationship is not us, the person, but the performance. We are loved not because of us, but because of the benefits, such as money, service, a good name that we bring to the person we want to love from. With all the hard work and performance, we actually did not achieve the goal of true love from the people we want. Simply stated, performance cannot obtain a true lasting relationship for you as a person.

A true relationship, or true love, has to be built on something else besides performance. Rich people should understand this well. They are never sure if their spouses married them for themselves or for their money. A true relationship comes from something else, like a blood-line.

There is the quote from a famous Chinese author Bing Xin, 冰心《寄小读者》:

"有一次,幼小的我,忽然走到母亲面前,仰着脸问说: “妈妈,你到底为什么爱我?”母亲放下针线,用她的面颊,抵住我的前额,温柔地,不迟疑地说:“不为什么,只因你是我的女儿!”

Once, when I was very young, I suddenly went in front of my mother, lifted up my head and asked, "Mama, why do you love me?" Mother put down the needle and threads, put her face to my forehead, gently and without hesitation said, "Not because of anything, just because you are my daughter!"

Relationship Always Beats Performance
A true relationship, like blood-line, needs no performance, to be truly loved. Whenever performance comes against a true relationship, relationship wins. This explains the difficulties many daughters-in-law face with their mothers-in-law. No matter how hard the daughters-in-law perform to please her mothers-in-law, the mother-in-laws always put her own daughter first. She does not have to please her mother, unlike the daughters-in-law, and she will be favored!

There is another relationship that is independent of performance. That is Creation-Creatures relationship. The Creator creates and loves his creation unconditionally. God, the creator, is love. He loves unconditionally and truly. Mother's love is just an example for us to appreciate His love. Because of His love, He dies for us while we are still sinners. He extends his love of acceptance and new life to us. Because of love, he cannot force it on us. He can only try to draw us. After we accept His unconditional love and new life, I find it very strange that we often teach people to perform to get acceptance and love! After we are accepted, we need not perform to get acceptance again. Do we then need not perform? There is no need. But, we intrinsically want to perform. Not because we want to gain love, but because we are loved. We can and want to perform because we have a new life of love and health. We will perform well just as our heavenly Father, who is a great performer who created the whole universe.

Grace Based Performance - Performance not for Acceptance but for Glorification
So we now perform, not for acceptance, but for glorification, for us and God because God is glorified through us. They will see our good works and glorify God.  We are given the Grace to draw upon, in our performance. Our weakness is no excuse for lack of performance, because when we are weak, then we are strong in the Lord. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. People will be impressed when we do things, through His grace working in us, beyond their expectations. To go further when they would have stopped. To love when taking revenge is seems more pleasing to the flesh. To bear when striking back seems the more manly thing to do. But our trust and our strength are of the Lord, and we know God will be wise judge and will execute judgment and deliver the righteous. Continue to follow His Kingdom principles, be strengthened by His grace, no matter the times. Let His light shine forth through you.

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