One Ministry, One Church, One Message Worldwide
Healthy relationships can greatly contribute to a happy life, yet many people struggle with the basics of forming and maintaining them. We sometimes see strained relationships between friends, family members, and spouses, and it can be emotionally painful for us to watch them interact in hurtful ways. The world’s so-called “experts” may give advice on how to shore up a shaky friendship or a marriage on the rocks, but if it’s not biblically-based, it’s just their opinion. Instead of putting ourselves in the middle of every relationship, the key is to put God there.
It’s sad that this is a big secret to many hurting people trying to salvage their broken relationships, but the world doesn’t know Jesus or how much of a difference He makes. We have a tendency to take a “me first” attitude when dealing with others, but that can build barriers between people. Self-centeredness may feel like the norm because there’s so much of it around us, but it’s counterproductive and it pushes people away. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Philippians 2:3, 4). Humbly putting others first is a challenge if we’re not accustomed to doing it, but it gives the message to others that they have value.
Being self-centered causes us to hold grudges, seek revenge, and become bitter and angry. It hurts us, keeps us from forming the happy relationships that God wants us to have, and sours the relationships we do have. To get away from this type of thinking, we need to be secure and confident in the knowledge that God loves and values us enough to give us His Word in this area.“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another…Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not” (Romans 12:10, 14). This is love in action; it requires real trust in God because it goes against what many of us have learned in the world.
Instead of caving in to the temptation to act with selfish motives, the better choice is to say and do everything in love. Acting in love enhances any relationship. The Word of God gives us guidelines on how to do that. “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NLT).
God’s will for us is to enjoy life when we live it according to His Word. Cultivating every relationship in the spirit of love, which is the proper motivation, helps us maintain the right frame of mind. “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love” (Ephesians 4:2, NLT). Keeping Christ in the center of our relationships allows Him to bless each one and infuse them with His peace and joy. The people God puts in our lives are gifts from Him and, when He remains front and center in our lives, we stay focused on the right things.