I’m working my way through a bout of writer’s block as I continue this thread in “Relationships”. Bear with me…
Everything we are about in this life is wrapped up in relationship. We imitate our parents first, and later we rebel against them. We long for everyone’s approval, and then we turn on each other at the slightest whim. We think no one else will look out for us, so we make sure we’re taken care of for ourselves. It’s only in living a life that put’s others ahead of ourselves do we find real contentment and community on this planet.
Our major interaction with each other is through conflict. A major portion of your own maturing process has been in the realization that you have more love for those who wrong you now than you did before – am I right? Your patience, manifested as fruit from your life, is keeping you from offense, is keeping you grounded enough to forgive and to love in spite of betrayal.
Another aspect of relationship that changes for the one growing in Christ is selflessness. Before, you would “act selflessly” in order to get something, or to manipulate people or situations to your benefit. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and often our discipline system at home is based on that same set of “rules”, I guess. But as you grow in Christ, you find yourself sacrificing for someone else’s good just because it’s the right thing to do. You find yourself acting in a way that might even be detrimental to your plans, but it’s a joy to be able to lift up someone else. you serve as Jesus served and love as He loved – because it’s a natural outflow of Him in your life.
One more thing from my own self-inspection: I hope I’m not judging people as much as I seem to be. At least, I pray that my discernment doesn’t negatively effect my view of anyone. As I talk with friends about deep life issues, let me pray first and console or exhort second, but let me also give them the benefit of the doubt and trust that God is already doing in them what I see and what I can’t. It’s a dreadful thing to stand in judgment, knowing that I’ve been guilty of so much more myself, and that I’m in need of mercy and forgiveness more than anyone else I might know.
If I could point to three things that can strengthen us as individuals and as partners together, those things would be:
1) In conflict, forgive
2) In action, do for others first
3) In judgment, pray
peace – rick