August 08, 2022
Last Christmas, our kids gave us a gift called “Storyworth.” Every Monday, Holly and I receive a question about our lives. Apparently, these are collected in a book at the end of the year.
Today’s question was, “What’s your best relational advice?” As I looked at this question for a long time, I knew it was a call to do some needed work on my closest relationships. Multiple thoughts ran through my mind. They were convicting because I have fallen so far short of these truths. But they are true nonetheless.
Here’s six thoughts …
1. OUR RELATIONSHIPS HORIZONTALLY ARE DETERMINED BY OUR RELATIONSHIP VERTICALLY.
If you are not walking in intimate union with Christ, every relationship you have will be tainted with humanistic selfishness, pride, insecurity, etc. We are at our worst when we are not filled with Christ. But the reverse is also true. Our best relational self is when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, listening to Him and letting every word and thought emanate from His presence.
2. EVERY RELATIONSHIP NEEDS MORE GRACE THAN YOU THINK.
We’re all fallen. To think that you are LESS fallen than those around you is pride. We all need understanding, and we need to be immediate in giving grace to others. We must seek to know our mate, our kids, our friends, and our neighbors and understand them and their needs. We must forgive their weaknesses and sins, knowing we long for the same.
3. A GREAT RELATIONSHIP IS A UNION OF TWO FORGIVERS.
We don’t have to carry a bag of all of our mate’s sins in our revenge backpack. We can forgive anything at any time by God’s grace, and we are commanded to. We are to forgive JUST AS He has forgiven us. If we don’t, our relationships will be seen through the horrendous lens of bitterness. Good relationships are built on the continual, immediate forgiveness of others when we are wronged.
4. WORDS MATTER
If hurtful, unkind, untimely words continually come from your mouth, it will damage your relationships. Words matter to you and to them. We need to observe the Ephesians 4:29 instructions to “Let no unwholesome (rotten) words come from your mouth; but only such as are good for edification, fit for the need of the moment, that give grace to those who hear.”
5. RELATIONSHIPS NEED THE REFRESHING JOHN 13 BASIN AND TOWEL.
Jesus didn’t seek to be served by those around Him but was constant in His service. The King of Kings got in the dirt, washed His disciple's feet, and then told us to live this way. Everyone is blessed when we humbly serve them. They need the refreshment, and we need the practice!
6. RELATIONSHIPS WILL BE PERFECT IN HEAVEN.
Although imperfect and often frustrating here, we must cling to the hope of a soon-coming world of perfect love. This reality can carry us through our failures and others’ failures toward us. For those who have trusted in Christ, heaven will be a place where we love perfectly and are loved perfectly. Perfect words, perfect thoughts, perfect motivations.
God help us love well, so we can show a watching world that there is a better way through the grace, forgiveness, and love of Christ.
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