Those of you who studied the Adult Lesson during the week may have a greater appreciation for some of the points in this Weekly Update. Nonetheless, I note that all persons experience some form of relationships. They can be the source of great blessings or they can be the means of much pain and stress when fractured and not nurtured. Accordingly, I pass on the following to you.
The Value of a Relationship
Among the greatest relationships to me has been that of my family, which includes my wife, children, siblings, and in laws. Additionally, some wonderful friends, spiritual guardians and mentors have been and continue to be a source of much encouragement. I am grateful to God for placing such individuals in my path. Time with such is never time lost, for so much is gained in the process on both sides. However, as important as these friendships are, I value my relationship with God the most. Because of it I can approach Him with confidence and assurance as He provides forgiveness, grants favors and inspires hope. As I recall some of the most challenging moments in my life, I confess that I could not have survived without the support God provided. And therefore, my daily devotion with Him is not an option but a necessity.
When Relations Are Fractured
During my years in leadership, I have observed that people are people with idiosyncrasies and issues. This fact makes the likelihood of misunderstanding and fracture a real possibility, even among professed followers of Christ. As such friends may no longer relate the way they once did; family members may become cold, colleagues may not be so trusting, and marriages may result in divorce, etc. In some instances inflictions may result, and persons may not speak to each other for years. We can refer to the Biblical example of the Apostle Paul and John Mark.
What may help in such situations is being open and objective as opposed to acting without checking and doing so thoroughly. It is necessary that in listening to a complaint or charge against one to try to get the other side of the story, otherwise it is possible to act in haste and on hearsay. Also, allowing the spirit of Christ to control one’s actions and words may save many a relationship. Is it any wonder that Christ commends the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” And even when a divorce or a severing of such relationship may occur, persons are not bitter.
When Relationships Are Healed
Relationships may be mended and healed only when there is an adjustment to our thinking, attitude, and when our positions are open to change. Friendships will be restored only when Christ is allowed to control our thoughts and actions as happened with the Apostle Paul towards John Mark. Whereas Paul had serious reservations with John Mark initially, it took a Barnabas who saw potential in Mark to help him and stick with him. Later Paul would come around and see the same as what Barnabas saw, and therefore he referred to Mark as “being profitable” (2Tim. 4:11).
Admittedly, personalities will continue to clash, and some people will struggle with this more than others; however, I believe that it is possible for relationships to improve. It is only the work of Satan to keep persons apart and distrust one another. On the other hand, Jesus has come to heal, restore and make what seem impossible possible. The question is, “Am I standing in His way?” The problem is never God. It is I. It is you. It is us. With God’s help, we must learn to live in harmony here if we would live with Him in the earth made new.