Harmonious relationships

Our God is a relational God. He demonstrated that when he entered our world as the man Jesus, fully God. (For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. – Colossians 2:9 NLT) And he continues to demonstrate that in the personal relationship he has with each believer. (So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. – Romans 5:11 NLT)

And having made us in his image (Genesis 1:26) — we, too, are relational beings. We begin to develop meaningful relationships with the people God places in our lives from the moment we’re born. Parent-child. Brother-sister. Husband-wife. Friends. Neighbors. Co-workers.

But as human beings – predisposed to our own sinful ways – our relationships are far from perfect while we are here on earth. And although these relationships provide important love and companionship, they also come with the challenges of imperfect people with different personalities.

The Bible is full of stories of relationships. Some providing examples of what works, others of what does not. And not only do we have these examples to apply to our lives, God also gave us clear instructions of how we should handle our relationships, and even of how to deal with the problems that will undoubtedly arise.

It’s important to note that one of the instructions he gave that we should heed before we enter a relationship is not to be “unequally yoked”.

Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. (2 Corinthians 6:14 MSG)

God knows that trying to apply Biblical principles to a relationship where only one is a believer will disrupt harmony and cause disagreement.

But when you do experience strife in a relationship with another child of God, the way to handle it Biblically is spelled out.

First of all, you must be sure you are aware of your own faults and are making your own attempt at repentance.

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5 NLT)

And once you’ve dealt with your own “log” … You can then work on dealing with the “speck” in the other persons.

If someone sins against you, you should express your disapproval. And if they see the error of their ways and apologize – agreeing to turn their actions around, you must forgive them. (And there is not a limit to how many times a repentant person should be forgiven.) – (Luke 17:3 & 4)

Sometimes, though, the person that has hurt you may not hear you, or see the way in which their actions have caused you pain. When this happens, it is important to seek Biblical counsel from others. (Matthew 18:16) Godly, neutral counsel can assist in confirming what you are saying, and often the perspective of others will help your loved one to understand – and repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation can occur.

God desires that his children live in harmony – and in his infinite love and compassion, he has shown us how to work towards this.

May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. (Romans 15:5 NLT)

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