Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions
See also: Help With our Relationships, Part 2
What would life be like if we didn’t get on with people? It would be difficult, and quite a challenge. Maybe a few thoughts might help this morning. I think everyone needs help in this area of life because we rub shoulders with others all the time.
Relationships is the area of life where you and I probably struggle with the greatest highs and also the biggest lows of life.
The Bible, in 1 Corinthians 13:13 (MSG) says, “But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”
Well, in the words of the singer Tina Turner, “what’s love got to do with it?” The answer of course is, “everything”. The most exceptional experiences, the greatest thrills, the greatest joys that have come into your life and mine have come as a result of relationships and through love. There’s also those incredible lows that are expressed in the Bible – for example, in Galatians 5:15 (NIV) “If you bite and devour each other, watch out, or you will be destroyed by each other.”
Challenging words, and it can happen so quickly. How many times have friendships been torn apart by hurtful words?
So what do you do when things aren’t going well? What do you do when you’re faced with frustration, overwhelmed by hurt or anger, or when you’re filled with apathy, and you just don’t care anymore? Fortunately, God in His word gives us some advice how to get through the tough days when our relationships are going from bad to worse.
Thank God For Our Differences
Some of the greatest frustration that we face in relationships and most of these are in the area of male/female relationships are because we are different. Not just physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. We think and work differently. We shop differently. We even watch television differently! And we also get frustrated by the differences.
But God had a purpose in making men and women different and it was not to frustrate us but to complete us. In happy marriages, your wife or husband can give you ideas and suggestions that you would never have thought of yourself and that helps us mature.
One of the greatest moral choices we’ll ever make is to thank God for our differences. That’s one of the things that makes relationships work. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans (Chapter 15 verse 7, NIV) says, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Why? To bring praise to God. When I accept you as different, the Bible says that brings praise to God. Why? Because He made us to be different.
Go To God With Your Disappointments
How about those times when it’s not the differences that frustrating you but the disappointments. The faults of the other person! What do you do then?
Ephesians 4:2 (NIV) says “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” That’s what love does. It makes allowances for somebody else’s faults. Notice it doesn’t say, “make excuses for somebody else’s faults.” Making allowance for somebody else’s faults means you recognise that it takes time and patience for them and for us to grow.
I wonder how many of us are disappointed in our relationships because we have an unrealistic view of relationships? We think they ought to be perfect! We think the other person ought to be perfect!
So when you’re disappointed in a relationship, the best thing to do is to go to God with your disappointments.