Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

10/18/2017

Randall Caselman

 

Maintaining Relationships

 

  There's no doubt that God created us for relationships: A right relationship with Him and with one another. Relationships are not optional, we all need them, have them: "It's not good that man should live alone." In his book, "The DNA of Relationships," Dr. Gary Smalley describes three meaningful relationships we all have: 1) With ourselves. 2) With God, 3) With others. Such relationships can be strong, encouraging, and exciting, or they can be painful, frustrating, and disappointing. Scripture, from Genesis through the Book of Revelation, speaks of how we get into these relationships, and how we maintain them. It’s not easy! Life happens! Satan works!

 

  Respect. We must see ourselves and others as God sees us; enough to send His Son to die for us. Respect is placing others above ourselves: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. You should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interest of others." "Don't think more highly of yourselves than you ought."

 

  Tolerance. Let’s give one another a little room for growth, maturity, time to overcome our failures, weaknesses, shortcomings, ignorance and inconsistencies. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgives you, and over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

 

  Understanding. Give the other person the freedom to be themselves. Before we become too critical of one another, we would do well to walk a mile in our brother’s shoes. Understanding is a discipline. It takes very little to criticize, but genuine Christian maturity and Godly patience to be understanding. Always be ready to produce the fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

 

  Expectation. Ever notice the better we get to know others the more human they become. In a family we see one another as we truly are, warts and all, sinners saved by God’s grace. Heaven is not promised to the sinless, but to the forgiven. The church is not a trophy case for saints, but a hospital for sinners. We must be realistic in our expectations of one another. Stop demanding perfection of others until we become perfect in our own thoughts, attitudes, and behavior. We must learn to: "Confess our faults one to another and pray for one another.

 

  See the big picture. In close examination of scripture we find that serving God most often means serving others. The first church understood this. They loved the brethren, fed the hungry, healed the sick, cared for the widows and orphans and preached to the lost. We must forget our petty issues, move forward in taking Jesus to the world, and work to keep the saved in the family.

 

  Indeed!...

 

We’re part of a family… That’s been born again;

Part of the family… Whose love knows no end.

For Jesus has saved us… And made us His own.

We’re part of a family… That’s on its way home

 

—RandallCaselman