One Ministry, One Church, One Message Worldwide
Maintaining successful personal relationships doesn’t have to be rocket science, yet many people have a great deal of difficulty in this area. When we observe others, it’s ironic that the quiet, peaceful relationships don’t get much attention, but the unhappy, painful ones can get people’s tongues wagging. This is because the world doesn’t know how to develop godly relationships, despite what the “experts” and self-help books tell them. Whether we’re married or single, we find simple and straightforward instructions in the Bible concerning this area of our lives.
Jesus said it best when He was teaching people how they should treat each other. “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12, NIV). This was necessary to remember then, and it’s still important today, because of people’s tendency to fall into self-centeredness when dealing with others. Putting ourselves first before others causes a number of problems in our relationships.
Self-centeredness can translate into emotional issues like anger, resentment, or unforgiveness. In daily situations, one person may talk down to the other, cut them out of the conversation, or hold the other person responsible for their own emotional well-being. All of these issues have a damaging effect on the relationships we try so hard to build, because they’re the result of us putting ourselves in the center of the situation, instead of God. We can get hurt emotionally, or hurt others, because of a false sense of pride that goes against the Word of God. “By pride and insolence comes only contention, but with the well-advised is skillful and godly Wisdom” (Proverbs 13:10, AMP).
When we trust God to guide us in everything we say and do, He’ll never betray that trust. We can ask Him to point out problem areas in our relationships, and He will. Basing our friendships or marriages on God, Who is love, instead of ourselves, changes our focus from us to Him. How we relate to others is then radically transformed. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13: 4, 5, NIV).
God refreshes and blesses the relationships aligned with His Word instead of according to the world’s expectations. When we stop trusting in our own self-efforts and rely on Him instead, the problems we can’t handle begin to melt away with no rational explanation. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6). We find patience when we thought we had none, we discover that we no longer feel jealous, and we realize we’re no longer interested in tearing someone else down to make ourselves look good. We discover that treating others the way we want to be treated makes life inexplicably sweeter and more pleasant.
Many of the problems that overwhelm us, the ones that hold us back from successful interactions with others, are of our own making. We don’t have to immediately understand every little aspect of God’s Word in this area to benefit from it, just trust in the knowledge that He always does what He says. This trust frees Him up to transform the barriers that held us back into blessings that enrich all our relationships.