THE GREATEST OF THESE
1 Corinthians 13:13
Jesus spent copious amounts of his teaching time speaking about relationships. However when it comes to our worldly education, most learn little about one of the most important things in life; relating to others. We cannot live life on our own. In the relationships that we do have, feelings alone will not sustain them.
In more difficult circumstances we must apply ourselves to righteousness if our relationships are to survive. Not surprisingly, in Ephesians 5 and 6 when Paul is exhorting the Ephesians about their relationships, he immediately follows with further exhortations on spiritual warfare.
Galatians 5:14 – We have to love ourselves to be able to love others. Jesus helps us to forgive ourselves and nurture ourselves with truth and love. Only once we can do this are we able to forgive and love others.
Matthew 7:12 – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We have to love, give to, forgive and make sacrifices for others. It’s not all about you and what you can get from others.
Let’s look at 3 areas in relationships:
Willard F Harley has written a book called ‘His Needs Her Needs’. In this book there is an exercise he gets couples to do. He gets them to write down the top three to five things they think their partner wants from them. Amazingly, when the couples reviewed these together they often found they were usually incorrect or had the priorities of wants all wrong. This is where communication comes in. A marriage only works well if there is lots of good communication.
It must also be healthy communication. It’s about how we communicate, using discreet and wise speech.
James 1:20 – "The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God".
Proverbs 15:1 – "A soft or gentle answer turns away wrath".
Don’t be easily offended. If you’re wounded, your healing will not be found in going on the offensive with words to wound back. People fall out of relationships too often because they cannot deal with offense.
1 John 4 :19 – We love because He first loved us.
Be the first to forgive. Be the one that breaks the cycle of poor and negative reactions in a relationship and fight back with love. Keep seeking Jesus and opening your life again and again to Him so he can help you relate well to others.
Choose your friends well. Friends mutually help and benefit each other. Sometimes friendships should not be maintained, because they may no longer be a positive experience for your life and soul.
Proverbs 27:17 – "As iron sharpens iron. Friends sharpen each other’s countenances."
1 Samuel 20 – Here we read of Jonathan’s love and loyalty towards his friend David. As the son of King Saul he could have claimed the throne for himself, but Jonathan knew God and knew that his friend David would be the next King of Israel. He strengthens and supports David, gives him his robe and his armour. Jonathan is doing what a good friend does. He is laying down his life and serving David. John 15:13.
Good friends will push you forward, not hold you back. Ask yourself, ‘ What am I doing to help my friends and colleagues get to where they want to go ?’
Symbiosis is a mutually beneficial relationship between two different people. How do dissimilar people live intimately together and get along ?
- Be agreeable. Find points of agreement with people. Say ‘Yes !’ instead of ‘But !’. Don’t detract from conversations and people but look to put something positive in to every connection.
- Don’t judge people. Romans 14:13
- Accept people. Romans 15:7
- Welcome people. Greet them, serve them. Romans 16:16
- Suffer long with those that are hard to get along with, forgiving them. Ephesians 4:2
This world will only speak discouragement to you. We are called in God to encourage one another. We are called to bring peace and faith and ease into relationships and one another.