Building Eternal Relationships–Is it possible we’ve made this too difficult?
As I began to write this post, the words from some of the children’s songs of the ’60’s and ’70’s began to come to me. As a mom of small children during that era, I was well versed with Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Captain Kangaroo! Those programs must have impacted me as I was chasing a toddler, changing diapers, and being thoroughly engaged in what I considered survival! Today I could hear the words of a song encouraging children to say, “please and thank you.” So I had to go on the Internet and listen to Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangaroo serenade their audiences (children & adults) once again. It brought back some fond memories of a time when good manners, honor, respect, and fair play were proudly touted through these children’s programs.
As I hummed along with the tunes, I thought about how many marriages might experience healing and breakthrough if they followed some of the humble suggestions presented in these programs. Or if they just simply applied the Golden Rule! What’s that you say? Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Here’s what that Scripture says in The Message Bible: “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.” (Matt. 7:12)
You mean instead of thinking about myself and what I want done for me and running over others in the process, I could actually treat others the way I want to be treated, expecting nothing in return? I could actually focus on honoring others for who God made them to be (not based on their behavior)? I could encourage them based on the gifts I know they have? I could look for opportunities to do small deeds of kindness for them? I could just exhibit some good ‘ole fashioned manners? The list goes on folks–let’s get creative! Instead of a cutting comment or a reminder of how disappointed I am with their behavior, I could think of something profound to say, for example: “I’m so thankful that you are in my life. I can’t wait to see the wonderful gifts you have being fully expressed through you!” OK, I know what you’re thinking, and don’t roll your eyes! The truth is I could invest, invest, invest, and since Jesus says it’s more blessed to give than receive, I could in turn actually begin to get my socks blessed off!
Folks, the little things mean more than we think. We like to over analyze, spiritualize, scrutinize, justify, relegate blame, accuse, etc. I’m not trying to over simplify this, but I just feel we need to back up and use some of the most basic tools of warfare the Lord has given us. I believe one of the most helpful sections in the New Testament is in Romans 12:9-21. Please read it when you have time!
Sadly when you ask some Christians about their relationships, you can almost sense the walls going up and the emotions shutting down. They definitely prefer not to discuss it! As believers we need to be a part of the solution, not the problem. I’m encouraging all of us to evaluate how we’re treating others. We could be wounding and creating division with relationships that have eternal value and that God wants to use in building His Kingdom.
Relationships are our greatest commodity. As I shared in a friends blog a couple of years ago, relationships that come easy are “icing on the cake” and the wonderful blessings of this life! But we should never discount relationships that are difficult! They can be an even greater commodity because they force us to draw near to God where we end up experiencing amazing personal transformation, and we learn to put the basics of obedience into practice. Ultimately those “difficult relationships” can become “added icing on the cake,” and maybe the very ones that are lasting and eternal!
So, don’t make it too hard, friends! Just practice what you preach!!