When we trust in Jesus’ work on the cross we become sons and daughters who are adopted into God’s family. Therefore, the relationships we have with one another is more than friendship. It is more than a way to meet new people or have someone to hang out with on the weekends. So much so that there is a supernatural quality to our relationships with one another, but sometimes those relationships can still be difficult. Consider a few of these possibilities:
- How many times have you been hanging out with someone from North Village Church, and there is someone in the group that you really rubs you the wrong way. You can’t explain it, but you are actually thinking about what other group of friends you could hang out with so you can avoid that person.
- How many times have you been in a conversation with someone and they talk to you about something that is really difficult? You empathize with them, but the best you can come up with is something like, “That sucks and I will be praying for you.” Inside you are wishing that you could have said something more meaningful.
- What do you do when you have a friend that seems to always have the same problem. You know every time they go down this road it is going to end up in the same place. You are thinking to yourself, “How come they can’t change?” But you never say anything because you are afraid you are going to hurt their feelings.
- How many times have we been trying to talk to someone, but they keep playing with their phone, checking email, checking updates, and texting, and it feels like what ever is going on in that phone is more important than having a conversation with you.
- Or, how many times do you show up at church on Sunday and you see everyone talking to everyone, and inside you are wondering, “How come nobody is talking to me?” Why does it look like everyone else is so friendly, but nobody is friendly with me?”
Scripture teaches us because of our faith in Jesus there is a quality to our relationships with one another. Below are 4 characteristics that shapes our relationships with one another. Take a moment and consider how they might apply to your relationships.
Admittance of Sin: The first characteristic is that we all admit we are sinners. Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” None of us are perfect, we have all fallen short, and we can carry this mindset into every conversation and relationship we have with one another. When I say, “Admittance of Sin.” I am not talking about generally agreeing that we aren’t perfect, but seeing there is a high probability that we can hurt one another. Whether it is our tone, our emails, our insecurity, reading into comments, looks, or non-verbal. There is opportunity for sin all the time.
Forgiveness: The second one is forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t just a word we say to each other. Sometimes my children will say, “I forgive you” and then they pick up a toy and throw at them. Forgiveness is a declaration of what has taken place at the cross. It doesn’t mean we simply overlook or ignore the sins of one another, but we trust our sins, our offenses and the sins of others have been accounted for at the cross so we can experience forgiveness and extend it to one another. Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Trust: The third one is trust. Trust means we are trusting in God’s promises that He is allowing this to happen for our good and for His glory. Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.” Do you trust that the difficulty that is taking place in your relationship is in God’s good wisdom? Do you trust that He is allowing it to take place for your good? Do you trust God wants to redeem our difficulty to make us more beautiful? He wants us to see more of His glory, and sometimes we think, “If I go to church, if I read the Bible, if I try to be a good person then God should make life easy.” That isn’t what the Bible teaches about God. That is a lucky charm. Sometimes we can do all the right things and sometimes we will still experience difficulty in our relationships with God, children, marriage, friends and the difficulty is for our good. Do you trust Him?
Humility: The fourth one is humility. It means we don’t come to one another with the assumption that we have it all figured out. Sometimes we do this. We think I know what you said, what you meant, what you felt, and I am here to bring judgment. However, if there is humility it means we know there might be other factors at play. We can’t completely understand always what is taking place and why someone did something. We can’t see the whole picture, but God does and in light of Him as our Heavenly Father we humble ourselves and come with a teachable spirit. There is gentleness in our conversations with one another. There is a desire to seek restoration, and humility shapes the tone of our relationships with one another.
It is because of our faith in Jesus these 4 characteristics shape our relationships with one another. Will you help me create this culture in our church?