What in the world were you thinking?
The relationship ended and you’re wondering . . . how could you have been so foolish? The signs were there all along, how could you have missed them?
You and I were created for relationships with God and with other people. Maybe one of the reasons God gave us so many instructions for wise relationships is because He knew how messy they can be.
It’s nothing new.
Adam and Eve sinned and Eve blamed the Serpent, Adam blamed Eve the woman God gave him . . . yeah, he blamed God.
I can just imagine what the conversation sounded like that first night outside of the Garden. Whew.
Then there are the first siblings—talk about a relationship ending badly.
Keep reading through the Old and New Testament and it’s clear . . . since sin has been part of life relationships have been messy and at times downright ugly.
There is good news though. All those real stories of real people in real messy relationships came with lots of wise advice for you and me.
Let’s take a look at the most important…
Important Wisdom for All Your Relationships
- Put God first always in every relationship. Make it a goal to honor and glorify God in everything. With Holy Spirit help make it your first priority to love, trust, and obey God. Knowing and wanting to follow God first will give you perspective in every relationship.
“When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.” ~Charles Stanley
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5–6
2. See every relationship through a God-first filter. Everyone is someone dearly loved by God. When you and I use a God-first filter we do everything out of love for Him and for others. That doesn’t mean we say ‘yes’ to everything and everyone, but we will pray about everything and ask for help to follow Jesus in all we do and say.
“Learning how to love your neighbor requires a willingness to draw on the strength of Jesus Christ as you die to self and live for Him. Living in this manner allows you to practice biblical love for others in spite of adverse circumstances or your feelings to the contrary.” ~John C. Broger
Love is made perfect in us when we are not ashamed as we stand before Him on the day He judges. For we know that our life in this world is His life lived in us. 1 John 4:17
3. Set God-first boundaries in your relationships. Treat everyone with kindness and respect and expect them to do the same. Refuse to take part in gossip. Be honest. Honor God physically. Control your anger. Avoid getting close to those lines you know shouldn’t be crossed.
“A strong strand throughout the Bible stresses that you are to GIVE to needs and put LIMITS on sin. Boundaries help you do just that.” ~Henry Cloud
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. Ephesians 5:1–2a
4. Remember it’s impossible to please everyone in every relationship. People will put demands on you. They’ll have wants and expectations. It’s impossible to keep everyone happy all the time. Believe me, I’ve tried. It doesn’t work and it’s not supposed to. Pray for God’s wisdom to help when making decisions. You won’t please everyone, but you will honor God and that will always be best.
“You can please some of the people all of the time; all of the people some of the time and some of the people NONE of the time, and these are the people you PRAY for ALL of the time.” ~Margareat McBride
Do you think I am trying to get the favor of men, or of God? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant owned by Christ. Galatians 1:10
5. Remember love and forgiveness can heal most problems. Love is so much more than a feeling. Love is a choice. Forgiveness is a choice. And both are obedience. God-first wisdom is both loving and forgiving. It is caring and patient, honest and compassionate.
Forgiving is love’s toughest work, and love’s biggest risk. If you twist it into something it was never meant to be, it can make you a doormat or an insufferable manipulator. Forgiving seems almost unnatural. Our sense of fairness tells us people should pay for the wrong they do. But forgiving is love’s power to break nature’s rule. ~Lewis B. Smedes
Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9
So, give yourself grace. Sure you’ve made some unwise relationship choices in the past. I get it. We all have. Really. I’ve paid a high price for relationship foolishness. But continuing to beat ourselves up won’t help. It fact, wallowing in the past may make foolish repeat performances easier.
Forgive yourself. Forgive others. And get wise. Because with God’s help you and I can make better choices starting today. I’m leaning in to God and asking for greater wisdom in my relationships . . . will you join me?
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