In the last few weeks, I have been thinking about the New Year. This is a great time for review, reflection, and being intentional about one’s actions. One dimension that I want to consider as I begin the new year is my relationships with various people. When Jesus spoke about the two greatest commandments, he said that what was front and center was loving God and loving people.
As I reflect upon the previous year, I want to consider my relationships with various people:
- my spouse
- my children
- my mom and dad
- my friends
- my neighbors
- my co-workers
- my employer
- my fellow church members
- my extended family
It is very easy to get accustomed to behaving in certain ways toward another even though such behavior may be manipulative, self-serving, and destructive. At the very least, such behavior can violate the spirit of what it means to love. It can violate the teachings of Jesus. Yet, we may become numb and callous to what we are doing.
A number of years ago, I watched an exchange between two people that made me feel very uncomfortable. There was no argument. No heated words. None of that. In fact, during this exchange both men were smiling and the conversation was pleasant. What was disheartening was to see one of these men act one way in the other’s presence and then see how he spoke about the other man in his absence. He made derogatory and insulting remarks about the other man. He questioned the other man’s intelligence and belittled him in a variety of ways. This was always done in the other’s absence, never in his presence.
I thought about my own words and behavior. Do I live, speak, and behave with integrity toward others?
This is my point. I don’t want to live from one year to the next without thinking about my relationships. I don’t want to be on autopilot and never give serious thought to the way I behave toward others. This is not just a matter of eliminating negative behavior. Rather, I want to think about practical ways to express love toward some significant people in my life.
What do you think? What would you add to this as you think about your own life?