(I am away on a vacation/study break during the month of July. The posts that appear during the month are from the archives.)
Need to “upgrade” your relationships? The following suggestions might be helpful:
10. Come to grips with any anger and rage issues in your life (Colossians 3:8). Who knows how many relationships have been damaged and even ended because of uncontrolled anger? Years ago, I was in a meeting and watched a guy have a meltdown. People were talking in this meeting and there was some kind of disagreement. This man’s face turned beet red and then he just lost it. For a few seconds (that seemed like a long, long time) he exploded and chewed out the group. Later, he acted as if nothing had happened. No apology. No remorse. Nothing. Life went on until some months later, he had another fit of rage. This happened again and again. This man lost much of his influence and damaged numerous relationships over this behavior.
11. Be honest in your relationships. Paul says, “Do not lie to each other, . . . .” (Colossians 3:9) Lying is a part of the old self and not the new self. Lies are absolutely destructive in relationships. Once a friend or a spouse discovers that you have been lying to them, it is very difficult for that relationship to ever really go anywhere. After all, relationships are based on truth, openness, and transparency. Not long ago, I spoke with a person who realized that a good friend had been lying to her for many years. There had been so many lies that she wondered what she could believe. The relationship has been severely severed now that these lies have been discovered.
12. Be intentional and deliberate about practicing forgiveness.
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)
This is incredibly important. After all, every single person with whom you experience relationship (family or friend) is a broken, sinful, imperfect human being. This means that this person is going to relate to you in imperfect ways and will need your forgiveness. No, I am not referring to infidelity or some sort of huge issue. I am simply referring to the importance of practicing forgiveness each day. In my marriage, I have learned just how important this is. After all, married people, regardless of how much they love one another, are going to blunder and say things that are stupid and even hurtful. So I have learned the importance of being a person who forgives each day. After all, I also need regular forgiveness from others and the Lord and so want to be very generous with my own forgiveness.
13. Be serious about praying for others. Listen to how Paul describes Epaphras: “He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in the in the will of God, mature and fully assured (4:12). What a description! “He is always wrestling in prayer for you. . . .” Do you pray for your friends? (Do you pray for your enemies?) Do you pray for your spouse? Do you pray for your children? If you are not praying for these people, who is?
I’m glad you are still reading. This particular series has been very helpful to me as I think through my own behavior in my relationships. It is very easy to see the immaturity of others and miss my own.
Which one of these suggestions might be especially helpful to you this week?