“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” – Hebrews 3:12-13.
Everyone has a picture of friendship in their mind. I’m not sure what yours looks like. But certainly the idea of friendship, as well as relationships, has changed over the years. Today, acquiring a friend has been reduced to a mouse click. Relationships can be as virtual as they are real. Friends on social networking sites cannot be a substitute for real friendships, because real friendships cannot be easily replaced by internet chats, comments and posts.
Contrast virtual relationships with relationships that are personal, deepening, supportive, faith-building relationships of love that are highly valued as expressions of our passion for the supremacy of God’s love. We want relationships that are deepening. That is because superficial relationships where we are content to know a few things about the person and periodically asking them how things are going in their lives will not help us to grow. It would seem to be very difficult to fulfill Galatians 6:2 through superficial relationships: “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”
Deeper relationships often happen in small groups because small groups help build relationships by connecting people who would not otherwise connect. Deeper relationships means there is a love for another and a willingness to help lighten people’s loads. A deeper relationship means helping, praying for, encouraging, and strengthening others. Growing relationships set the scene for deep discussions and life change.
Effective relationships are a two-way street so as we bless others we will be blessed as well. Acts 20:35 says, “And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Deeper relationships thrive when we try to outdo each other in supporting others than waiting to be supported.
Everyone has a need for close relationships. We thrive in healthy friendships and find great fulfillment there. To have these type of friendships, we need to realize it is our responsibility to find and build healthy relationships. To do so, we must reach out to others and treat them the way we would desire to be treated by a friend — looking out for what is in their best interest.
- Deeper relationships often happen in small groups because small groups help build relationships by connecting people who would not otherwise connect. Agree or disagree and why?
- What can you do this week to begin developing deeper relationships?