How healthy is your marital relationship on a scale of 1 to 10…10 being very healthy?
How healthy is your relationship with your children on a scale of 1 to 10…10 being very healthy?
How healthy is your relationship with your friends or co-workers? You know the scale.
Our relationships with others are important in and of themselves but they also affect everything else we do in life. And, as we consider those relationships we also need to evaluate the relationship we have with ourselves and especially with God. How would you score them?
My husband and I had lunch a few weeks ago with a couple who attends a church we were visiting. We will call them Bob and Jane. It was easy to see that their marital relationship was not healthy at all. If I were to score their marriage, after having spent time with them that afternoon, I would have barely given them a 1 and that would only be because they were still together.
When asked how long they were married her reply was, “51 years too many”. She then volunteered the date they married only to say that April Fool’s came a day late. No matter what kind of subject we tried to engage them in, Jane put her husband down, brutally. She was obviously angry and targeted Bob as the reason.
After lunch, she and I went to walk and talk. It became clear that not only was her marital relationship unhealthy but Jane didn’t like herself much either. I also learned that though she had a relationship with the Lord it was very shallow. The limited time she spent with God was not sufficient for her to really know and trust Him. She practiced leaning on her own understanding, even when she was aware that the Word differed from the way she acted or communicated.
For example, Jane told me that her husband never helped around the house and that she did it all. When I asked her what she would say to her husband about such a matter she replied, “I tell Bob that he is a free loader, doing nothing but eating and sleeping. I tell him that I am tired of doing everything and him doing nothing.”
Not many people would respond in a positive manner to such a negative message. Would you want to jump off the couch and help? Or, would it take a more positive approach? Such as: “Bob, I would appreciate some help with the chores. Are you able to help with them now or would later on be better?” If that was spoken in a sincere tone most people would not refuse. Wouldn’t you agree?
We read in Matthew 22:37-39, “…love the Lord your God with your whole heart and with your whole being and with your whole mind: 38. this is the greatest and first commandment. 39. And the second is like it, ‘You will love your neighbor as yourself.” (ONM)
Jane, like many others, tried to love others without loving the Lord first. How do we love Him? Jesus said, “If you love Me, obey Me.” (John 14:15)
When given a commandment to love it is difficult to obey without understanding His definition of the word. So, it would be important to get to know Him. Getting to know Him requires spending time with Him. Spending time together is what develops a relationship.
It is easy to say we know President Donald Trump because of what the (fake) news media says about him. However, without spending a lot of time with him we would never know who he really is.
In the same way, many people know only what others have told them about God which is not a substitute for a personal relationship with Him.
People who have not spent time getting to know God, like Jane, typically lack knowledge about how to love, thus end up with unhealthy relationships of every kind, lacking joy and peace in their lives.
The question that comes to mind is, “WHY LIVE THAT WAY WHEN THERE IS A WAY THAT PROMISES TO PROVIDE JOY AND PEACE?
• Some people have not accepted the fact that reverence of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7) and that there is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the Lord. (Proverbs 21:30)
• Some people do not trust that He is, that He exists, and that He rewards those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
• We must know that He sent His Word (a manual) to teach us how to not only survive but rather to thrive!
When people lean on their own understanding or seek instructions from any source other than the Lord, the intended results will be altered. God said that He would confound the wisdom of the world. (I Corinthians 1:19) Though results may appear to look good in the moment the truth will come forth in due season.
There is good news for Jane or anybody else who wants an upgrade in their relationships. However, this upgrade is costly, just like any other upgrade we desire.
• This upgrade will require that you spend time getting to know Him and then obey what He says. In other words, it will cost you your will.
Jane’s upgrade would teach her that she is loved by God and that He has forgiven her for the things she has done in her past. She would will to forgive herself. She would will to speak the answer rather than the problem. For herself as well as her marriage she would will to speak those things that are not as though they were so they would come into being. (Romans 4:17)
Without this upgrade, Jane is stuck in a pit, barely surviving and bringing others down with her.
You too, can will to get to know Him and will to do what His Word says.
When my book (Character Blocks) is released at the end of the month you can read more about how about this topic.
Leave a comment if you have questions about His ways regarding loving Him, others or yourself.
Blessings to you.