Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Not that I am by any means an expert on relationships, plenty of people can vouch for that, but my pastor presented a sermon last week that I thought was really good. I thought I would take my notes and add my own thoughts to it, I'm even going to follow his AB AB presentation. I don't really think that Biblical analysis of all situations is always the best way. Sometimes these lead to tortured readings of the Bible and lots of gap filling. I also don't subscribe to the notion that the bible has the answer to everything (If you do, take your Bible out to your garage and use it as your only manual for rebuilding your transmission). However, relationships is certainly something that is addressed at length in the Bible and a very important part of not only being a good person, but also being a good Christian. Yep, being a good Christian... John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (Love is a whole extra post, I'm sure... here's a cheat)

There seems to be a natural tendency in most relationships. They start out casual, then you get closer pretty quickly, then over time you drift apart. I'm sure most people have friends they have known almost their whole life, but they are usually few in number when compared to the number of friends who just drifted away over time. This tends to happen with groups or organizations as well as with individual people. I'm mostly thinking and writing about interpersonal relationships, but, the same key issues effect other relationships.

1. Selfishness is a part of human nature, we are all basically selfish, but it is something that will destroy a relationship. James 3:16, "For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. " Most of us start out relationships being very giving, always concerned about the other person, willing to go the extra mile to do things for them. But, over time, we back away from this and slowly start to turn back inward to taking care of ourselves first. It's easy to do, just stop doing something because they can do it themselves, or not taking that extra minute to do something for someone else because you are too busy. Eventually you are too busy to do anything for the other person. They will normally do the same to you, you will resent it (see #4), and grow even further apart. The tit for tat retaliation is relationships is horribly destructive, and we all do it, always have ("well, he hit me first."), being aware of it can help limit it.

So what's the answer? Being selfless. Doing for the other person because you can without expecting anything in return. (Did I mention that these are not my ideas and that I'm as lacking in these areas as everyone else?) Jesus showed us this famously by washing his disciples feet before the Last Supper. He didn't make a show of it, didn't ask for anything in return, he did it as an example for them to follow. He led by example. That's what we are supposed to do, follow his example in our everyday life, and by doing so be an example for others. If you are going to do this you have to stop keeping track, you can't keep an accounting, it won't work if you do. Very hard to practice. However, it is also something that can keep a relationship close, well worth the effort.

This is going to get a little longer than I thought. I'll end here for now, Part 1 of 4.

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