As our culture becomes more connected through technology, it is becoming more disconnected when it comes to personal relationships and “real” face to face interaction, communication and community. Loneliness and isolation are growing issues. A recent poll indicates that nearly half of Americans are truly lonely. Loneliness has nothing to do with how many friends or contacts one may have on social media. Getting 100 likes for a post doesn’t fill the void for one who is longing for the touch of a friend, acceptance, a relationship. Relational goals are essential to building and maintaining healthy relationships. When we make people a priority and focus on what’s important, our relational goals can become a reality By 2020.
Ec 4:9-10; Pr 29:18; Lk 6:13; Ro 12:17-18; 1 Cor 5:11, 15:33; Gal 5:13-15; Col 3:13
Where there is no vision, the people perish. (Pr 29:18) Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other;…(Ec 4:9-10) Serve each other with love….If you go on hurting each other and tearing each other apart, be careful, or you will completely destroy each other. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (Col 3:13) Don’t be deceived, bad company corrupts good character. (1 Cor 15:33)
Some relationships need to be initiated. Jesus chose his disciples—people in whom he saw Kingdom potential. He invested himself in these individuals and connected with them relationally and spiritually. Working together is better than working alone. Sometimes others initiate the relationship with us, but often we must take a step to start a relationship that we need in our life. Our closest relationships need to be nurtured. From the marriage relationship, to parents and children, to friendships, attention and care are needed to keep relationships strong and healthy. Don’t neglect what’s important. Be intentional about your relationships with those you love. There are relationships that need to be restored, or at least resolved. When there is anger, hurt, unfinished business and an absence of resolution, we live in turmoil. Harboring anger and resentment takes it toll. The Bible says we should live at peace with everyone, if it’s within our power to do so. If you have unfinished issues with someone, clear the slate. God calls us to forgive as He has forgiven us. You don’t have to agree with each other, but you have to forgive and lay to rest the problem between you. If they refuse to accept your sincere efforts, you have done what you can. If they accept, you may be able to rebuild some of what’s been lost, but even if you can’t, your heart and soul will be free. Some relationships need to be severed. We are to love everyone and to be a witness to the lost. However, if your relationships are leading you down the path to sin and are not helpful and encouraging in your Christian faith, they need to change. You must assess with whom and how you spend your time. Maybe you cannot maintain your friendship and be faithful to God. Choose wisely.
What relationships needs to be initiated? In what area of life do you need someone’s support (ie: counsel, mentoring, friendship)? What relationships need to be nurtured? Who do you need to connect with, spend time with and devote your energies to? Who do you need to make amends with or at least call a truce? What do you need to put in the past? How can you make that happen? Do you have relationships that are dragging down your spiritual growth? What steps do you need to take to remedy the situation?
Respond to your answers to the above questions. Formulate a plan, set goals, and do something.
Dear God, thank you for the relationships you have given me. Help me to care for them as you intended, with love, forgiveness and wisdom. Help me to grow in my relationships with others and with you. Give me discernment and grace as I interact with those you have placed in my life. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.