Relationships are a Mess Worth Making
- Monday, March 26, 2007
View your relationships as a form of worship. Understand that where you derive your sense of identity will determine how well you relate to others. Remember who you are in Christ – God’s beloved child who is forgiven and free – rather than getting your identity from lesser things like your circumstances or other relationships. Decide to live based on the confidence and strength available to you in Christ instead of trying to get those things from the people and situations around you. Realize that your relationships will be much healthier if you don’t put pressure on people to give you what only God can give you. Worship God as the Creator through your relationships by recognizing that each person is the wonderful result of His work. Value each person’s individuality and accept the differences between you. Worship God as sovereign through your relationships by respecting the influences God has placed in other people’s lives and the ways those influences have shaped them. Understand that your ways aren’t necessarily better than their ways. Don’t try to reshape them to fit your personal preferences. Worship God as Savior through your relationships by acknowledging that you are a sinner in relationships with other sinners. Remember that each of you is still a work-in-progress with God. Avoid being self-righteous, impatient, critical, or judgmental. Focus on dealing with your own sins instead of those of other people. Don’t try to do something in someone else’s life that only God, the Savior, can do. Realize that, when you let God’s love flow through you to another person, God will use that relationship to accomplish redemptive purposes in that person’s life and also in your own.
Use the power of words wisely. Be aware that words have incredible power to either bless or harm people. Understand that the words you speak reveal what’s truly inside your mind. Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind so you’ll be able to think positive thoughts, which will lead to positive words that will encourage others. Use your words to bring glory to God and help establish His will for your relationships, instead of your own agenda for them. Speak wholesome words that are concerned about other people’s needs. Refrain from saying anything to others that isn’t helpful to them. Before you speak, ask yourself what the people you’re relating to need most at that time, and try to address those needs as you speak to them. Pray for wisdom to say the right thing in the best way, and ask God to use your words as He works for good in people’s lives.
Deal with conflict wisely. Know that conflict is an inevitable part of relationships, and that the closer you are to someone, the more conflict you’re likely to have. Choose to face conflict head-on, understanding that, if you do, God will use the conflict to make you more like Christ, with a real love for Him and others. Recognize that conflict often results from your own desires (for comfort, pleasure, recognition, power, control, or acceptance) that clash with other people’s desires. Don’t allow your desires to become more important to you than your relationship with God. Expect God to use difficult experiences in your relationships to show you what you’re living for besides Him. As He reveals these issues to you, humbly ask Him to purify your heart and transform you. Recognize the default strategy you use in conflict to try to get what you want, and focus on changing your strategy to one that reflects trust in God. Repent of the wrong ways you’ve been dealing with conflict, and depend on the Holy Spirit to help you learn to deal with conflict in healthy ways. Consider the needs and desires of the people with whom you’re in conflict. Rely on God’s help to be patient and renounce revenge. Make a plan to approach people you need to confront, and in that meeting: Own whatever personal sin you’ve brought to the situation, Name the problem, Explore possible solutions, Implement the agreed-upon solution, Evaluate how the solution is working, and Be willing to get outside help if needed from someone who will respect both sides of the conflict.
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