I guess that’s why I wanted to write about relationships this year.
Relationships are necessary messy blessings.
God made us to live connected.
God said, “It’s not good for the Man to be alone; I’ll make him a helper, a companion.” Genesis 2:18 (MSG)
Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together. Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NCV)
And we know it’s true. We feel better when our relationships are strong, healthy, and happy.
But then there’s this…
Remember this! In the last days, there will be many troubles, because people will love themselves, love money, brag, and be proud. They will say evil things against others and will not obey their parents or be thankful or be the kind of people God wants. They will not love others, will refuse to forgive, will gossip, and will not control themselves. They will be cruel, will hate what is good, will turn against their friends, and will do foolish things without thinking. They will be conceited, will love pleasure instead of God, and will act as if they serve God but will not have His power. 2 Timothy 3:1–5 (NCV)
Is it any wonder people have always believed they were living in “the last days?” And in many ways, we are … not knowing the day or time Jesus will return but knowing we are closer now than we were yesterday, last month or last year.
Since Adam and Eve were banished from the garden and their firstborn son killed his brother people have had trouble getting along with one another.
But I wonder…
Is it just me, or does it seem like things are getting worse?
I don’t really have any evidence, except for the hurting people I see personally, on social media, and splashed across every news report.
Although Scripture talks about the importance of loving like Jesus and gives us clear guidelines to follow, Christians are falling short, too.
Marriages end. Families fall apart. Friendships fail. Groups protest and riot. Churches split. Relationships fail.
How I wish I could wave a magic wand and heal the brokenness.
Since I don’t have that power, I will do what I am able…
I will pray!
And I will write!
The 5 Most Important Reasons Relationships Fail
1. People are selfish.
We want things done our way on our timetable. I get it. You and I look at like from the inside out. Everything is filtered through “self.” It’s easy to become selfish. And if you spend 5 minutes with a toddler, you’ll quickly learn we come into the world that way. It takes an intentional change in attitude to follow God’s better way…
Where jealousy and selfishness are, there will be confusion and every kind of evil. But the wisdom that comes from God is first of all pure, then peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help those who are troubled and to do good for others. It is always fair and honest. James 3:16–17 (NCV)
2. People are prideful and stubborn.
I’m right! You’re wrong! It’s that simple.
Of course, everyone believes they’re right. If everyone would just see and do things “my way” the world would be sooooo much better. But so much of what we “know” and believe has been filtered through the lens of our personal experiences.
Which is why God told His children to…
Always be humble and gentle. Ephesians 4:2a
3. People are quick to judge.
I can’t believe. How could you?! I would never!
You and I can be so quick to judge a person’s motives without knowing their heart. The truth is you and I don’t want to have assumptions made about us. We hate when judgment falls on us. God’s love is tender and merciful…
All of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Ephesians 4:2b (NCV)
Give love and mercy the same as your Father gives love and mercy. Luke 6:36 (ERV)
4. People are self-righteous.
I get it, there are just some things that are hard to forgive. Some offenses cut too deep but when you and I really stop to remember all that God has forgiven in us . . . well, with His help we can forgive anything…
Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:#2
5. People fail to listen to each other.
I’m a talker and I’m opinionated. I always have something to say. In fact, if I said everything that popped into my head … let’s just say, it wouldn’t be pretty. Honestly, it’s a good thing people can’t read my mind and the One who can, well — He hears a lot of confessed repentance over many an unspoken thought.
Can you imagine how our relationships would improve if we listened with compassion before we spoke in anger? If we made understanding a priority?
Be a listener
My dear brothers and sisters, always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Do not become angry easily, because anger will not help you live the right kind of life God wants. James 1:19–20 (NCV)
Now, I can almost hear you saying, “Yeah but you don’t know_________.”
And I get completely understand. Really, I do!
I have had my own relationships fail!
But even though you and I can’t change someone else, we aren’t helpless. With God’s help, we can be changed.
I can’t change you but I can change me.
My prayer is with God’s help I will become more and more unselfish, humble, merciful, and forgiving. And that I will listen for greater understanding to the thoughts, opinions, and experiences of others and most importantly to His Word that I might know His truth for relationships and for life.
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