“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” – James 1:19-20.
Relationships play a vital role in our lives, and oftentimes they are a constant source of heartache and frustration. Chances are, all of us have some type of relational brokenness in our lives. If you thought about it for a few seconds you probably would think about specific people and situations. But relationships provide us with friends and family to share our lives with and people who can help us out in tough times.
We were made for relationships. We were made for healthy relationships. Surviving in the world today requires deep relationships. But those relationships do not just happen, they require effort. We have to do more than just reach out to others, we have to share our lives with others as well. Relationships can be a tangible expression of God’s love for people through how we interact with, connect with, and care for them through our relationships.
Throughout His ministry, Jesus recognized the importance of building lasting relationships. Lasting relationships are those that stand the test of time and create a deep sense of personal commitment on the part of both participants.
Take the story of Jesus walking on water. He displayed His divine command of the natural world while using the experience to show Peter the importance of where he placed his trust and faith.“Why did you doubt?” Jesus asked Peter. Jesus knew that respect and trust were the essential ingredients in building lasting relationships.
Did this mean that Jesus was always successful in maintaining relationships on His terms? Surely not. Some people never trusted Him or turned their backs on His efforts when challenged to change. Others (like Peter) became fearful and struggled with doubt at many points. Still, others turned on Jesus and betrayed Him.
Having healthy relationships is central to being a part of the body of Christ. These are to be healthy, loving, and forgiving. And this is true not only within our immediate circle of other Christians, but also with our neighbors, business acquaintances, and even those people you find annoying. Are we willing to keep building them, even after some have failed and others have turned against you? Despite the actions or failings of others, Jesus continued to commit His life to creating lasting relationships – with leaders, with servants, with individuals, and with communities.
- What is your most important human relationship (marriage, parent/child, friendship, etc.)? What do you treasure most about this relationship? How do you nurture this relationship?
- Can you think back on a time in your life when you began to more deeply understand the importance of relationships? Maybe it took a hike in the woods, or maybe it was a relational rift, but has there been a time in your life when you felt the significance of relationships?