Messy relationships are part of life and…
Loving others is our spiritual service as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1)!
Continuing with our focus that Relationships Matter, let’s begin with exploring how to expose roots of bitterness to the light of love so we can have healthy relationships!
The heart of man reflects a man…that is why it is critical to understand and utilize our emotions. The pure in heart see God; if I am seeing ‘yuck,’ my heart needs some purifying! God seeks relationship with all of us at all times. He looks to who we were created to be, not who we are at the moment. My relationships with others are a tool He uses to transform me because they expose my heart!
Living from emotions as if they were truth is a deadly practice. Learn to listen to emotions not as ‘truth’ but as indicators of heart issues. Emotions come before actions and words, but they follow thoughts. We are not at the mercy of our thoughts; in fact, we are commanded to manage them. Thoughts can be true or false; we are responsible to know the difference and choose Truth! Freedom to choose responses instead of being enslaved to reactions requires digging through the dirt and building your life on Truth. The work is worth it; here’s a tool that helped me!
Resentment, anger and rejection are common relationship issues. Understanding the Truth Roots of each is a powerful shield against destructive reactions.
Resentment often flows from expectations that have not been met. We establish a standard that we live by for ‘right actions’ and expect others to accept our definition. Our standard may be ‘right’ but imposing our expectations on another is not right. Other times our expectations are unrealistic, sometimes faulty—and often even unspoken. Regardless, our expectations are ours. Any problem arising from our expectations means we need to take them to the Lord.
Journaling helps me in this process. If I find resentment blocking me from the presence of God, I immediately stop and ask for clarity on what I am resenting. The Holy Spirit is a real presence who helps us! (John 14:26) Simply writing down my resentment often improves my perspective. Other times I have to ask God to heal a hurt from a loved one. The wounds of our friends are precious; we need not fear the pain. Our Savior is acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53) and our faithful healer. Taking my resentments to God is part of His plan for purifying my heart. His healing love is a priceless treasure.
Relationship struggles remind us that our hope is in God alone. It is He who works in others, setting the expectations for them (as well as us). It is He who grants us favor with others (or not!). He orchestrates all! We can trust His standards and His work in us and others.
Please note: expectations are not boundaries. Boundaries are healthy and necessary in every relationship. Asking something of another is part of every relationship. What we ask will always be for the good of both participants in the relationship…and it will always be an ask not a demand. Asking allows for a no that does not generate rejection or bullying. The softness of our heart—and our reactions to wounds from another—should not be sharp or edgy when our ‘ask’ is refused. Unconditional love has boundaries, but that love is not given based on whether the boundaries are honored or ignored. The love remains despite the actions of the other.
Anger develops from unmet expectations that grow into rights. The perceived violation of those rights generate anger. In anger, two pathways emerge: one masquerades as strength, the other as weakness. Both are deceptive paths of destruction—personal and relational. The path of pride produces presumption—arrogance and disrespect for others (and God). The other path offers despair and hopelessness. It cries victim and weakness…and often manifests as depression.
Rejection—both the feeling and the act—brings death to the relationship and decay to the individuals. Separating from another person may give an illusion of relief but does nothing to resolve the underlying issues. Resentment and anger continue developing roots in the soul. They are the ‘bitter roots that defile many.’ Rejection is not the way of God; not His desire for us or others. The roots of rejection must be eradicated; the love of God is the only power capable of victory!
To know the love of God
is to be filled with the
FULLNESS OF GOD!
Loving others requires that we first be loved by God. All of life has the potential to guide us into greater knowledge of God, but all of life seeks to draw us away from Him too! The choice is ours to make when we know Jesus Christ. In the next entry, we will explore choices and living with intention! Don’t miss out: Follow this website or like the Facebook Page to receive notice of the next entry.