John 15:19 – If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
I am going to admit it. I’m a jerk. But guess what. So are you.
The society we live in helps us to create unhealthy relationships. How often do we come home from a busy day at work and get on the computer or Xbox or Playstation? On the those gaming consoles, we play games online with people who send us “friend” requests and think they are our friends. On Facebook or Twitter, we find people whom we have not had a relationship with for years and send a few direct messages back and forth and think we have a relationship. When asked how many friends people have, most add in people on Facebook or Twitter even though they may never have seen those people for years…or even ever.
And that causes our live relationships to break down.
1 Peter 5:10 – And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that lack on intentional devotion to my previous marriage helped to break down the marriage which eventually led to the circumstances that brought my marriage to an end.
Just recently, my girlfriend and I had a break down in our relationship that was caused by both of us not viewing each other in a loving way. Thankfully, through the grace of God, we were able to discuss our problems and begin healing the relationship again.
That kind of break down is permeated through our culture. And it has permeated itself throughout the church.
We, as Christians, really do relationships wrong. We simply think that because we have God in our lives that everything will be great.
But that just is not true. If anything, the opposite is true.
John 16:33 – I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
As a Christian, your trials and tribulations will still continue. That is the problem with the world. Look at John 16:33 above. It says IN THE WORLD you will have tribulation. Match this up against John 15:19 where it says we are to be in the world but not of the world. When we are actively in and of the world, we find that trials and tribulations are going to affect us. It means that the issue of living a life of broken relationships will continue….
We make the choice to be in this world but not of it. God has overcome the world. We will have those worldly problems while we are here, but if we keep our focus and faith in the One true God, then we will benefit from His overcoming of the world. We will benefit from the grace that He provides us to be able to handle the situation.
In the issue of broken relationships, it means that we will have the ability, through our faith in the grace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, to rebuild those relationships.
This does not mean we simply sit by, pray to God for healing to the relationships, and do nothing on our end to heal the relationship. It DOES mean that we do everything, fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit, to follow Biblical guidance on rebuilding the relationship.
So let me begin to close this blog post. My biggest opportunity in my Christian walk is the struggle to build strong, lasting relationships. I am great at starting them, but it is the continuing of the relationships that is tough for me.
Relationships are messy. They take time. They take struggle. We can’t just be in the same location and call that a relationship. We can’t just find people on Facebook and message them and call that a relationship.
We need to get together. We need to dig into the Bible together. We need to face our demons head on with our closest friends and advisors in the name of Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit to tackle those issues together. We need to comfort one another. We need to cry together. We need to get angry at each other. We need to laugh together.
That is the crux of TRUE relationships. That is what discipleship is about. It is God working through a few very close friends to build a stronger presence of God’s Word in the hearts of those gathered. Through this discipleship, God becomes real to everyone in the group.
So stop calling your Facebook “friends” your friends. Get together with people in the church and begin meeting with a couple of them regularly. If you do not, you will not grow in your relationships.
And to my future pastoral employers, this is an area of struggle for me. Keep me developing those relationships and building discipleship groups. And do the same with everyone in the church.
We are a product of our society if we don’t.
Romans 12:12 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.