Relationship is the way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected. It is also the way in which two or more people or groups regard and behave towards each other.
There are many different types of relationships. Such as, Family relationships, Friendships, Acquaintanceships , professional relationship and Romantic relationships e.t.c. The best relationships begin with a deep trust, and even if problems come up (and they will!), the trust is strong enough to keep you together.
( Matt. 22:35-4) The Bible ranks healthy relationships as one of the most important thing in life. A Jewish religious expert asked the most important commandment ? Jesus answered that a loving relationship with God is of first importance and loving relationships with others is second. The Bible is all about these two important relationship.
To build a healthy relationship with people, you must first build yourself. Like in our memory verse
- Imitate Christ’s merciful , forgiving attitude
- Let love guide your life
- Let the peace of God rule in your heart
- Always be thankful
- Keep God’s Word in you at all times
- Live as Jesus Christ’s representative
Apart from knowing Christ and having eternal life, healthy relationships make life enjoyable perhaps more than anything else. Even if your health isn’t the best, if you have loving relationships, you can enjoy life. You can make a pile of money, but if your relationships are broken or shallow, your life will be empty. A poor man with a loving family and good friends is far richer than a rich man who is poor relationally.
The Bible ranks healthy relationships as one of the most important thing in life. A Jewish religious expert asked Jesus (Matt. 22:35-40) A loving relationship with God is of first importance and loving relationships with others is second. The Bible is all about these two important relationships.
Even though Bible emphasizes healthy relationships so highly, it’s sad that there are so many believers who have hurting or broken relationships. Many Christian homes have been shattered by divorce. Some who stay married are unhappy. Their homes are a tense battle ground, not a loving refuge. Many Christian parents are at odds with their kids and the kids with their parents. On the church level, some christians bounce from church to church, leaving a trail of damaged relationships behind. Some christians won’t speak to other Christians because of misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and wrongs that have taken place. Sadly, the loving families, genuine friendships, and healthy relationships that we want most out of life often elude us. A lot of toxic relationships have led some people to depression that ended in death.
Here are some signs to help you recognize a toxic relationship and when you find any of these , take action immediately :
- All take, no give.
- Feeling drained.
- Lack of trust.
- Hostile atmosphere.
- Occupied with imbalance.
- Constant judgment. – Persistent unreliability.
- Nonstop narcissism.
Question: Is it possible to have healthy relationships with everyone ?
Answer: (Rom. 12:18), “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Sometimes, no matter what you do, some people are hard to get along with. But often if you treat a difficult person with the qualities that the Bible enumerated in our text (col.3:12-17) the person will change for the better in how he or she relates to you. But even if some relationships never improve, if you relate to others with these attitudes, most of your relationships will be healthy.
Although it isn’t an easy pill to swallow , because to develop these qualities, you’ve got to kill all immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (Col. 3:5). You’ve got to put aside all anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech, and lying (Col. 3:8-9).
After which, you have to put on “a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other” (Col. 3:12b-13).)
Question : Why should we have “a heart of gold” ?
Answer: The reason you need to “have a of gold ” is because God has graciously chosen and loved you. Eph.1:3-5 , Col.3:15-17 . The Bible is saying, God’s gracious, loving treatment towards us should be the basis of our treatment to others. If you’re a Christian it’s not because you first chose God, but because He chose you before the foundation of the world .
It is not easy to kill selfishness and anger in order to practice these Christlike qualities toward others, especially toward difficult people. But it’s easier when you remember how God loved you and chose you when you were not very lovely
Secondly , we have laid aside the old man (what we were in Adam) and have put on the new man (what we now are in Christ, both individually and corporately), and because in this new corporate man old differences no longer matter, but Christ is all and in all, therefore, we should put on the qualities of the fruits of the spirit and act according to…..1Pet.3:8-9
Blocks For Building Healthy Relationships
Building Block 1: Love ( 1Sam.18:1-4)
When David and Jonathan met, they became close friends at once. Their friendship was based on true love and they allowed nothing come in between them not even career,Family or the throne. In 1sam 23:16-17 , Jonathan realised that David would be the king instead of him, but that did not weaken his love for David. He would much rather loose the throne of Isreal than loose his closest friend.
Love is the starting point. We must have the genuine interest at heart of the people we relate to. Many problems in conflicted relationships involve power struggles, people feeling excluded, and the absent of brotherly affection. These problems can be solved through the expression of both agape and phileo love. .
Building Block 2: Encouragement
A major problem that retards positive relationships is criticism. Encourage, don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. (Eph. 4:29; Col .4:6). Make people feel important. Use their name, be friendly, and smile. Learn to listen and understand their interests and point of view. Talk about what interests them. This will take you far in building positive relationships.
Building Block 3: Respect
Respect means that you accept somebody for who they are, even when they’re different from you or you don’t agree with them. Respect in your relationships builds feelings of trust, safety, and wellbeing. Respect doesn’t have to come naturally – it is something you learn.
It is also a way of treating or thinking about something or someone. … You show respect by being polite and kind.Rom 12:9-10 .To so many people, taking your hat off is a show of respect. When people are insulted or treated badly, they feel they haven’t been treated with respect. You can respect things as well as people.
Ways to Be Respectful and be Respected
1) Listen and be present
2) Be thoughtful of others’ feelings
3) Acknowledge others and say thank you
4) Address mistakes with kindness
5) Make decisions based on what’s right not who you like
6)Respect physical boundaries
7) finally Live and let’s live.
Building Block 4: Accept Responsibility
The Bible shows that defensiveness and blaming others for things that go wrong will clog a good relationship. It is the refusal to properly evaluate our own contribution to conflict that hinders the existence of healthy relationships. Gal.6:3-5 , 2 Cor 13:5
Finger pointing and fault finding only magnify problems. Accepting responsibility does not mean taking all the blame for everything. It means to sit down, and with an open attitude examine the issues. It is to accept personal responsibility for, and work to change, those things that hinder building relationships.
Building Block 5: Breaking Deadlock/Communication
When conflict escalates to a certain level, people stop talking to each other. They quit church, move out of the house, become silently sullen, or hide in their cubby hole in the office – they avoid each other. I am sure that most of us have experienced this situation .
Bible teaching about building relationships urges people to move from deadlock to dialogue. There is always the potential for more conflict, but good people with good motives need to talk. But, you must first seek for common ground, not fighting ground. Sometimes, to maintain the relationship, people must agree to disagree about a particular area of disagreement. Learn to work around things you cannot change.
The Bible is requesting a mediator to intervene in troubled relationship, and to begin this process involves talking and dialogue. Matt 18:15-17
Question: How can someone “agree to disagree ” ?
Answer: Learn to work around accept things you cannot change.
Building Block 6: Manage Emotions
(Eph 4:31-32 , 2Tim 2:23) Bible teaching about building relationships requires that we manage our emotions . Basically, managing our emotions is by managing our thinking .
Question: How can emotions be managed ?
Answer : The Bible says ” flee” “put away ” Running away is sometimes considered cowardly. But wise people realise that removing themselves physically from temptations is often the most courageous action to take especially when conflict escalates . It is better to walk away from any situation that stimulates your negative emotions .
Building Block 7: Prayer
The Bible teaching about building relationships emphasizes prayer. Paul sets the example, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment” Phi 1:9. Jesus said to, “pray for those who persecute you” Matt 5:44.
Persevering prayer is powerful, and should take the place of getting even with those we think have wronged us (Rom12:14). When you finish the steps of reconciliation in Matt.18 15-17, the next thing to do is to pray for the person after the demotion.
Building Block 8: Humility.
It’s often said that if someone thinks he or she to be humble, then the person is not actually humble
Question: Do you agree to the above statement ?
B. How does one access his or her state of Humility ?
Jesus, and Paul accessed their state of humility (Matt. 11:29; Acts 20:19).
So it is possible to know when we’re being humble by accessing our state of Humility based on the following qualities of Humility:
Humility has 3 qualities:
First , a humble person is Christ-sufficient, not self-sufficient. A humble person consciously relies on the Lord and recognizes that God has given him all that he has (1 Pet. 5:5-7; 1 Cor. 4:7). A humble person knows that he is weak in himself, but he is strong when he trusts in God’s strength (2 Cor. 12:9-10; Phil. 4:13).
Second , a humble person has a proper evaluation of himself.(Rom. 12:3) . A humble person doesn’t think that he’s indispensable either in God’s program or in anybody’s life .
Third, a humble person esteems others more highly than himself. (Phil. 2:3-4) Being humble or lowliness of mind means having a true perspective of on ourselves. It does not mean that we should put ourselves down , it simply means laying aside selfishness and treating others with respect and common courtesy. considering other person’s interests than our own links us with Christ who was the true example of Humility.
Building Block 9: Forgiveness.
Rather than holding a grudge or harboring bitterness and resentment, we must forgive those who wrong us. We are to forgive “just as the Lord forgave you.” . We didn’t deserve God’s forgiveness, but He provided for it and granted it freely in Christ at great cost to Himself. God didn’t say, “Don’t worry about it; it’s no big deal.” He paid the price which He doesn’t make us pay back . God’s forgiveness means that He will never bring up our sins as evidence to condemn us. He never hauls out our past as leverage against us. Even though He legitimately could, His forgiveness means total acceptance and restored fellowship with us.
While Compassion involves our feelings, Forgiveness is primarily a decision. You choose to absorb the wrong and not allow it to be a barrier between you and God or any other person . The feelings may follow. If you struggle with feeling forgiving after you’ve granted it, do something kind for the one who wronged you. While God never extends forgiveness until there is repentance, He showers those who have wronged Him with repeated kindnesses until they come to repentance. We must do the same, hard as it is to do.
5 Love Languages To Improve Relationships
What are love languages? It is hard going to a foreign country if you don’t speak the language.( e.g German language) .If you don’t have an interpreter you feel lost, alone, helpless. Misunderstandings are easy. The same is true in love. There are five different love languages. If we are not speaking the same language in a relationship , confusion, frustration, and a disappointment in our relationships may frequently occur . A person may even feel that the one they love is rejecting them when in reality they are only loving in a different language! It is important to not only know your own love language, but also to know the love language of the person to whom you want to keep relationship with . It may be a spouse, a parent, a child, or someone else. Take time to learn their love language. A person should not just work on speaking all five love languages, but focusing on the language of the person receiving love is also vital.
These love languages are not always verbal, but they are powerful emotional languages. They are the ways real love is given and received. You will discover that the misunderstandings which could take place if your No 1 love language is your loved one’s No 5. Understanding love languages helps us to communicate love to the ones we care about without misunderstandings.
So what are these five love languages? And what do they mean
For some people spending quality time with the one they love is the best way they can express their love the more. They feel that by giving their time to their loved ones, they are saying “I Love You” in the strongest possible way , and vise vasa . When people spend quality time with them, they feel as if they are really being loved. If their loved one fails to spend the time with them they will feel neglected or rejected. Ecc. 3:1 & 8 . So in building your healthy relationships with God and people ,always speak the love language of quality time together .
For others, helping their loved one is the way they communicate love the best. To them doing something to help the loved one is the greatest expression of love they have. For example a husband who cheerfully fixes things around the house because he knows it makes his wife happy is a love helper. A wife who goes out of her way to do things to make her husband’s life easier is declaring her love in this special way. Rom 15:1-3
For some, being near to their loved one brings that extra special sense of love. It includes hugs, holding hands, constantly on phone etc. While to some other just being in the same room – knowing that the other person is near – is what is needed to give and receive love. The desire is to be near their loved one even if they are not talking or doing something together. It is just that closeness which says, “I love being with you”.
Giving presents [other than on holidays, birthdays, and special occasions] is the way others express love. To them giving a simple, inexpensive, unexpected present says, “I was thinking of you today because I love you.” To a young child it might be as simple as bringing home a chocolate bar, for a wife it might be a single rose or a card, anything however small is their way of saying “I love you.” Act 20:35
Words of Encouragement
Genuine, sincere encouragement and compliments. For some people just a kind word lifts their spirits. “You look gorgeous,” “Thank you for taking such good care of garden,” “It’s wonderful the way you are so thoughtful and kind.” And, they constantly speak works of encouragement to others. They receive their joy by building others up verbally. Col 4:6 , Eph 4:29
Questions: How do you discover which is your love language in your relationships?
How do you know the order in which they go , that is which one comes first and so on?
Step .1)Think carefully over all five languages.
Which one is the most important to you?
Which one means the most when you receive it?
which of the five is your favorite way to express love?
Which means the least? As you answer these questions you will discover the order of importance these languages are to you.
Step 2) Think about each of your loved ones. How do you think they express their love? What do you think is their love language? And what is the order of importance of the other languages?
Step 3) After you have written down your order of importance for yourself and for each of your loved ones, go to them [if they are adults or older children] and ask them to read this report and write down in order what they think the importance of the love languages is. Compare that to your list. Have you seen them the same way they see themselves?
Remember, when you go to give love to someone it is important to speak their language, not yours. After all, you want them to understand that you love them. What matters the most to them? Speak that language most often.
Case study 1
If a husband’s love language is “presents” and his wife’s love language is “quality time”, what do you think will happen to that relationship?
The husband comes home from work gives his wife a rose with a romantic card and then goes and sits down in front of the TV. In his mind, he has expressed love for his wife. But, while she may appreciate the present, in the wife’s mind she has not received love because he has not spent any quality time with her. On the other side of coin, the wife sits down and spends time with her husband thinking she is meeting his need for love, but he is wondering why she never shows her love with a card or small present.
Are you beginning to see how important it is to understand and speak the other person’s love language? Some people are hurt and feel unloved [even when they are loved] because the person loving them hasn’t learned to communicate that love in the way they understand and appreciate it most.
Case study 2
If a son’s love language is physical closeness and his father’s love language is helper the stage is again set for misunderstandings. The father may build and do all sorts of things for his son trying to show his love, but inside the son is crying out, “Please let me be with you. How about a hug sometimes or a friendly wrestle? Don’t you love me?”
Again let me stress that we should work on mastering all five love languages. But there are some that are going to mean more to us than others. When we were dating most of us didn’t have too much trouble speaking all five languages. Somehow after we get married and things settled down we get lazy and slip back into speaking only one or two languages [if that]. Good relationships [with anyone or on any level] don’t just happen. They take time and work. We need to work on the five languages of love and expressing the most appropriate ones to the people we love.
A special word about hugs. Even if a person’s native language is not physical closeness, everyone needs a hug. From a mother a hug communicates comfort. A hug from a father gives a sense of security. Children, both male and female, need both kinds of hugs. Maybe you are not a “huggy” person – learn! It is a needed way of expressing love. Husbands and wives need hugs, too.
For families , love notes are a fun and important way of communicating love. Hide notes around the house where the loved one will come unexpectedly upon it. Put a simple love note in a child’s lunch box. This is especially important for fathers to do. Children are with their mother most of the time and know she loves them. Sometimes the father’s love is in question. A simple “I love you, have a nice day, Love Dad” note means so much to many children. Think how you would have felt if your father had taken the time to express his love to you that way . But the parents of this digital generation…?.
God’s gracious, loving treatment of us is the basis for our treatment of others. Maybe you’re wondering, “Where do I start?” You may need to begin by focusing on your relationship with God. Have you trusted in Christ as your Savior so that you’ve truly experienced His forgiveness, mercy, and love? You can’t love others as you should until you’re rightly related to God.
Take stock of which quality you must need to work on and put it on your prayer list: “Lord, make me a patient person .” That’s a dangerous prayer, because the Lord will give you some difficult people to practice being patient with! Act obediently, not on feelings. Whenever you fail the test, confess it to the Lord . Also ask the forgiveness of those you’ve wronged. You may need to begin by going to those you’ve already wronged to make things right. Make a habit of putting on these “new clothes” and you’ll enjoy the blessing, not of perfect relationships, but of substantially healthy relationships.
Application Questions :
Are some Christian couples so incompatible that they never can have a satisfying relationship? Should they divorce?
Which of the seven qualities do you most need to work on? How will you work on it? What’s your plan?
Is it ever right to distance yourself from a person who has offended you, rather than trying to work things out? If so, when?