Principles for Healthy Relationships …

Biblical principles provide a practical way to cultivate and strengthen relationships. Friendships are not preserved by sincerity and love alone, but by keeping clearly defined agreements that individuals make with God and one another. Living ethically invites God’s favor and proves that real friends love at all times (Proverbs 17:17).

1.  The Forgiveness Principle – Christians choose to live a lifestyle of forgiveness and not be easily offended.

The Scripture: Acts 24:16 – “I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.”

Christians must forgive.  The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6) is clear on this subject. God delights in his children portraying his character by forgiving others just like they have been forgiven.  Life is filled with choices. Disciples choose to not be offended, and they forgive hurtful words or actions. Proverbs 19:11 states that “it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”

The Question: Are you committed to forgiveness?

2.  The First Word Principle – When irritations or offenses occur, Christians speak directly to the responsible party before talking to anyone else.

The Scripture: Matthew 18:15 – “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend.”

When people get hurt or offended, instead of forgiving and moving on, they often choose to get other people involved in their painful situation.  Instead of obeying the simple instruction of Jesus to go first to the person who offended, they often talk with others about the offender.  This only complicates the matter by further alienating the offender and possibly creating secondary offenses in the other people brought into the situation. God gives grace to forgive to the one who was wronged, not to his or her friends. Loose lips sink great ships, create breaches, and alienate people.

The Question: Have you spoken to anyone else about this offense?  Will you commit to go first to the person who has hurt or offended you?

3.  The Faithfulness Principle – Faithfulness to a relationship outweighs the importance of any offense.  Problems must not override principles.

The Scripture: Proverbs 27:6 – “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

Misunderstandings and differences of opinions will arise and can divide close friends.  It is important to determine beforehand that the relationship is more important than any problems.  It is vital to strengthen relationships by regularly affirming their value.

The Question: Is your concern a threat to our relationship?  Will you value the relationship above the non-essentials in order to walk together in unity? [Continue reading]

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The Cab Ride I Will Never Forget

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One time I arrived in the middle of the night for a pick up at a building that was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or … [Continue reading]

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