We all crave relationships. I think that even the cruelest of people still crave the love and affection of others. Relationship is vital for all of us because first God created us for relationship – to relate with him. He then created the woman so that man could be engaged in a meaningful relationship with a woman. A family was born. The first family was a tripartite relationship between God, Man and Woman. It always pays to retain this standard of relationship for a successful home. Even when challenges come, you will easily overcome. (That was by the way) Every other human being on earth came out of the loins of Adam. So, whether we like it or not, if our relationship is traced far enough, we will realize that we are family.
Our success in life is tied to the quality of relationships we have or we keep. Your relationships can either make or mar you. They that walk with the wise shall be wise but the companion of fools shall be utterly destroyed. (Proverbs 13:20) We see how the relationship between Jonathan. and David enhanced the life of David positively. He had a friend in deed. Conversely, the life of Amnon, David’s son was cut short in his prime because he followed the advice of Jonadab – a bad friend and slept with his step sister. We see also in 1 Kings 12 how Rehoboam the son of Solomon lost control of the Kingdom his father handed over to him simply because he choose to follow the advice of the foolish and inexperienced youths of his day rather than the wise advice of the elders. God called Abraham out of his father’s house. It was Abraham who entered a covenant with God but simply following Abraham, Lot also became wealthy. That is what relationship can do.
The devil knows that two people with a quality relationship have power ten times greater than their individual power. That is the principle of Deuteronomy 32:30. This is the power of synergy. That is why our relationships are a target for the devil. He tries to destroy relationships that will lead to our upliftment. That is why we must be conscious of the devices of the devil in order to overcome them and reap the full benefit of our relationships.
The benefits of a good relationship are endless. They include help, synergy, correction, instruction, advice, motivation, strength, fulfillment, etc.
It is wisdom to properly define and categorize our relationships. Even Jesus had different levels of relationship. His relationship with Peter, James and John was at a different level compared with the other nine disciples. They were with him at the transfiguration. They followed him sometimes to pray. Similarly, his relationship with the twelve disciples was on a different plane from the seventy disciples. We see equally the special attachment he had to Lazarus, Mary and Martha. When we define our relationships, it helps us to know how much attention to devote to them. There are acquaintances that we must relate with from a distance in order not to be influenced negatively by their words and deeds. There are those we must consciously seek to deepen our relationship with – either as a way to derive more benefit from their lives or to afford us an opportunity to be a blessing to them.
For those with whom we are going to relate closely, we need to seek certain qualities. Are they born again? Do they have any strange doctrines? What is the fruit of their lives like? – that is, their Character. Matthew 7:20 says that by their fruits you shall know them. When a person’s speech, attitude or conduct is unwholesome, then you need to keep some distance for what relationship has light with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14). Evil communication, the bible says, corrupts good manners. (1 Corinthians 15:33) Good relationships may never be too much, but one bad one can do much harm.
Defining your relationship will also help you to place value on them. You are not likely to derive much benefit from relationships you don’t value. Most times, what you see in the relationship is what you get. Life is a network; you are just about two persons away from any person you want to meet. That is why you need to value the people that God brings into your life. He brings them for a purpose. It is up to you to discover why they are in your life and strive to get the purpose achieved.
Strive as a Christian to achieve two major things in all your relationships. Strive to lift people up and strive to draw them closer to God. In striving to lift them up, you ask yourself the question, “how can I be of help or benefit to this person?” Your first aim should not be about what you can get but about what you can give. If our pursuit in a relationship is about what we can get out of it, we are most likely to live a life full of disappointments. That a man has more than enough is not a guarantee that he will give to you. We must also pursue a spiritual dimension, which is to point our friends, family and acquaintances to Jesus. That is the best we can offer them. Even if they are already believer’s, there is a lot we can bring into their lives to enhance their relationship with God. This we must consciously strive to achieve until it becomes our lifestyle.
Of great importance is the need to turn the search light inwards in order to examine ourselves to see that we are not deficient in the qualities that we seek in others. You will need to remove the log from your eyes before complaining about the spek in your brother’s eye. Be the kind of friend that you will love to have. Proverbs 18 verse 24 puts it this way: “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Let’s equally bear in mind the golden rule: “Do unto others as you will have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12). Most times, the reaction you get from people is a reflection of your own attitude or approach towards them. When you show people love, they are most likely to respond with love. When you approach them with any negative attitude, it is most probable that they will respond in the same token. What you sow is what you reap.
There are many people in church who complain that there is no love in church simply because no one visited them. However, they themselves have not visited anyone is a very long while. Many people today are like islands. They feel like they don’t need anyone. They are so busy with their job, family and everything else that they don’t want a relationship with the rest of the Body of Christ until they have a need. Then they wonder, “Where is the church?”
To maintain your relationships, there are certain things you must be conscious of. You must choose to be a friend in deed and not a fair weather friend. Stand by your friends in both the good and the bad times. The notion that friends run away in the bad times must not be true of you. If your love and friendship is genuine, it must pass the test of time and adversity. Proverbs 17:17 says that a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
You must equally abhor jealousy, strife and gossip as this is a sure way to destroy your relationship. Proverbs 16:28 says that a perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer seperates the best of friends. Even the best of friendships will break if we allow jealousy or give our ears to gossips. When you are offended, you must be Christ-like about it. Handle offenses rightly and seek reconciliation. Seek to understand the other person; you may realize they were right.
We all need each other. That was why God brought us together. Let’s seek to bring out the best in our relationships to the glory of God. Let me however conclude that, our first and foremost relationship is with God. Our focus must always be on him. Let us not seek to derive from human relationship what only God can give. Hence, we must be prepared to let go of a relationship whose purpose in our lives have been served and let’s keep our focus on God who is our source and sustainer. God bless you.