If you were to boil the Christian life down into one word what would that word be? At the risk of being too simplistic, I submit that the word would be “Relationships”. When Jesus was asked the most important commandment, He talked about one’s relationship with God the Father. He pointedly indicated that one’s relationship with his fellowman is a close second. It is a safe assumption then that relationships are at the core of Christian living. Today, I want us to look at some considerations about our relationships.
Read Matthew 22:34-40
1. Priorities of relationships
A. There are at least six levels of relationships: God, Self, Spouse, Children, Church, Others.
B. Unless the above order of priority is honored one’s life becomes out of balance and happiness eludes us.
C. Where does your job appear on the list? Many women place their priority on Children while too many pastors place their priority on the church.
2. Problems in relationships
A. Unresolved Offenses: There are three things you can do, regardless of the fact whose fault it is. First, confront the conflict with an eye to resolving it or you can ignore it and pretend it will go away. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Lastly, insist on your “rights” and refuse to resolve it. This will permanently damage the relationship beyond repair.
B. Un-forgiveness: It is lunacy to think that your un-forgiveness hurts the other person! Remember the Lord’s Prayer. “Forgive us…as we forgive others. When we refuse to forgive we dam up our lives to prevent God’s grace from flowing in us.
C. Uncontrolled tongue (anger & gossip – James 3:5): When you gossip you poison two minds. The person that listens to you and yourself. (How do you feel the next time you see the other person?)
D. Unwise actions or conduct: Be more sensitive to the implications of your actions. Be quick to confess when you have hurt someone else. Be quick to forgive when you are done wrong.
E. Unfulfilled expectations: Many times they are unrealistic expectations. The answer: get your eyes off people and on Jesus. Accept the human nature of people.
3. Fixing broken relationships
F. Confront without delaying any further, (Matthew 5:21-24). There is nothing to be gained by delay; the sooner—the better.
G. Be willing to compromise, (Proverbs 25:8-10). Be willing to bend; it doesn’t always have to be your way.
H. Make a commitment, (Ephesians 4:32). Be “reconciled to each other”. Restore the relationship and commitment to each other.
Jesus indicated that our first priority was to have a proper vertical relationship with God, and then, a proper horizontal relationship with our fellow man. You can’t have the first without the second. Then, where are you in your relationship with God today. What about your relationship with your fellow man?A sermon by Dr. Arnold Lastinger
Image: Montse PB