Someone near and dear to me is in the process of getting a divorce. It pains my heart to see this take place in their lives and worry about the days, weeks, months, and years to come and all the ramifications this will have. I of course have been rather introspective about my own relationships. I’m not married nor do I have a “significant other” in mind, but all relationships have the same bare bone necessities. All healthy relationships require mutual respect, love, trust, attention, grace, and understanding.
Many people think that their relationships with people have little to nothing to do with their relationship with G-d; not only do I believe that there is a link, but so does the Word of G-d.
Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
1 John 4:20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
And in Matthew 25 it talks about G-d separating the goats from the sheep by how we treat the least among us.
King David’s relationship with his children dictated how he was able to live out his kingship towards the end of his life. Samson’s relationship with Delilah kept him from walking in the power and authority he once had.Esther’s relationship with her uncle, encouraged her to stand against hate and ultimately the genocide of her people. Relationships matter, how you interact with others, who you interact with, and how you are influenced by them. Anyone who has had a bad roommate situation knows this to be true haha.
As I have gotten older I have realized that when talking about relationships, longevity has always got to be at the forerunner in everything. Before speaking or doing anything, we have to ask ourselves, “will this bring longevity or will this harm the longevity of this relationship?” When conflict arrises I have to decide what will ultimately be the best for not only myself but for the other person to bring the greatest and healthiest longevity to the relationship. If there is an issue that will cause me to be filled with bitterness, anger, and resentment…I will need to bring the issue up. Or if the conflict is simply a small annoyance and ultimately I could work around it and it would do more harm to bring it up, then for longevity’s sake it is probably best to let it go. Sometimes letting go of a friendship all together is what is needed for the greatest and healthiest longevity for yourself or the other person.
If you do address an issue, how you address it can also make an impact. If one of my leaders does something that I disagree with, I have the choice of putting them down and telling them what an awful decision they made…or I can think, “What will draw them closer to Jesus, what will shape this person into being a better leader, and how can I use this to make them stronger and not weaker?”Our first instinct is often to lash out and “be right,” or to absorb pain and never to address it at all. Being aggressive or passive, is never the aim. Healthy longevity looks out for everyone involved. You aren’t being trampled but neither is the other person.
Q1: How do you pick your battles? When do you decide to confront and when do you decide to let go?
We are all flawed and have different things that we have to work through. Some of us come from abusive backgrounds, or we grew up with guilt, shame, and manipulation. Few of us have had healthy relationships exemplified before us. It can be tough when the other person in the relationship doesn’t have longevity in mind even if you do. We can’t always control what happens to us or those around us, but we can determine what kind of people we will be and how we will respond. Perhaps right now you are even thinking of how you haven’t handled something well.
Q2: Do you have any relationships that you need to reconcile right now? What are the steps that you need to take to make things right?
One of the most powerful tools I know in regards to changing a relationship, is prayer. Praying for the well-being and growth of a person, praying peace in a situation, praying for favor, praying for a shift in my own heart and mind, praying for forgiveness…etc. If your relationships do affect your walk with G-d, it only makes sense that you would talk to G-d about your relationships. So often we think we must do it all on our own, with our own willpower and wisdom but we fall short. Bring your relationships before G-d and watch as He transforms them.
Q3: Who do you need to lift up in prayer right now?