Love. Family. Friends. There is nothing like the holiday season to expose the imperfections of relationships. Our ideals are so high; our desires grand. The television commercials and social media shares leave us thinking everyone else has more love and better relationships than we do. Take heart! Real relationships don’t always look beautiful…and sometimes they don’t feel lovely either. The truth is:
Real relationships are messy!
I believe they are meant to be…and God wants to transform the mess into a beautiful message of real love and real relationship.
Our lives are meant to be full of relationships. God, who is love, created humanity in His image for connection. His image is marred in each of us but His loving pursuit of us is unfailing. The vast difference between ourselves and the heart of God is revealed when we are in relationship with others. Relationships show us where we are not like our Creator and inspire us to know Him more—and be more like Him.
God is the author of relationships, and the only source for success in relationships. He is Creator and Sustainer. His fervent, faithful love for each of us reveals our need for Him and shows us what it looks like to love others like He loves.
Committed, connected relationships don’t just happen. Connection with others inevitably leads to hurt feelings and difficulties. Relationships require attention, intention, effort and even sacrifice. That is as it should be! When relationships cause us distress—as every relationship will—there is a beautiful opportunity unfolding.
Do you recall how Jesus’ response to the accusers of the adulterous woman transformed the lives of all involved? He simply wrote in the dirt. As we walk through life, we must let Jesus write in our lives…whether we are the accuser or the accused. Nothing anyone has done to me is greater than what I have done to the Lord of Lords. In fact, when we sin against another, the sin pierces God first. In relationship with others, we must train our eyes to look at Jesus first. When we come to Jesus with our relationship issues, whether anger or hurt, He will reveal something within us that still needs transformation!
Rather than look to Jesus, our natural response to relationship problems is to lash back, make accusations, or hide in shame or self-protection. Hurt people hurt people but healthy people help people. The law of sowing and reaping is a vital relationship principle, but it is one that Jesus can alter! In the natural realm, seeds of resentment produce a crop of resentments. Anger breeds anger. Seeds sown from the flesh and unholy spirits destroy lives and relationships. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil — and taking offense is a bait straight from Satan! Refuse the bait and partner with Jesus to destroy the devil’s plans.
Scripture tells us that vision and understanding give us restraint. Restraint is a powerful tool to employ in relationships. Those tv commercials and Facebook posts are an idealistic vision. Real vision comes from the Word. Even in this godless age, many know John 3:16…
”For God so loved the world, He sent his only Son that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.”
The Father loved that Son whom He sent…that’s a bit harder look at love to embrace. We like love that rescues. We shirk love that sacrifices in such a profound way. Even those who are willing to receive hurts to themselves resist allowing their loved ones to suffer.
We want loving relationships that give us only sweetness, and that is neither realistic nor beneficial. Sincere love for another involves sacrifice and suffering on both sides FOR eternally good purposes!
Loving others is the spiritual service of a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).
Relationships matter! As 2016 comes to a close and a new year dawns, let’s spend some time looking at God’s plans and purposes for the relationships we enjoy in our lives. We’ll begin with exploring how to expose roots of bitterness to the light of love! Follow this website or like the Facebook Page to receive notice of the next entry.