Have you ever had a disagreement with someone that escalated for some unknown reason? Maybe they responded sinfully, and said hurtful things? Maybe you responded sinfully by dishing it back or writing them off.
If you turn on any current TV sitcom, “family life” is portrayed in a totally dysfunctional way. Put downs, callous remarks, sarcastic, cutting words, fighting and warring are what Americans are entertaining themselves with in our culture. Daytime Soaps entertain millions of women with stories of dysfunctional families, revenge and grudge holding.
As Christian moms, we need to guard against this in our homes because of the closeness of the relationship.
Sometimes familiarity breeds contempt and all sorts of other sins, when in fact, familiarity should bond us in love and peace. People are tools that God uses to change us so that we will love like His Son loved us.
“Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, and be ye thankful.”
“Above all things, put on Love which is the bond of perfectness.”
“Love one another as I have loved you.”
The way we treat our least favorite person here (horizontal relationship) exposes the current state of our relationship with God at that present moment.(vertical relationship)
We cannot live a lifestyle of mistreating our brothers and be in a right relationship with God. We cannot speak harshly to our husband and children and be in a right relationship with God. We cannot give the silent treatment, cold shoulder or indifferent treatment to a church member and claim to follow God.
These behaviors are the polar opposite of loving God and others first. (I Cor. 13) These are behaviors that show that self-love is ruling our hearts, not God. A heart ruled by God obeys His commands. This is hard in a sinful world, but this is what God requires of us. He commanded it and will give us the grace to do it.
Children need to be taught at a young age that the family relationship is not only one of the strongest relationships because of proximity, but also one of the most fragile because of proximity.
Imagine for a minute that I drove into Boston with the idea that I was going to be the next Napoleon and conquer the city singlehandedly. Crazy idea right? Of course. It is nearly impossible to overtake a city by yourself! You’d have to be a lunatic to even try it.
But Proverbs 18:19 says “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”
This means that the closer you are to someone, once you have offended them, it is nearly impossible to “win” them back again. In fact, you might as well try conquering a city.
The closer you are relationally, the more careful you need to be. Why? Because God’s glory is at stake in our relationships. There is something bigger going on that just wanting my way or demanding that my needs be met. God’s glory is at stake in my relationships, words and actions.
Husbands and wives should treat each other with particular care as well as brothers and sisters, extended family, church members and co workers. All these close relationships need to be guarded.
Your attitude toward can build walls or open doors. Your words can build up or tear down. You are responsible for you.
All around us people have broken relationships. People who should have cared for you have hurt you. Why? Why all this mess? Because of sin and its rein in our lives. Because this world will never be perfect because of the effect of sin. This world is a mess because individuals make it that way by sinning.
“We are in an everyday war between the Kingdom of Self and the Kingdom of God.
I Cor. 5:15 reminds us that Jesus came so those who live would no longer live for themselves. But the DNA of sin is selfishness. Sin causes me to want to live in the center of my world and shrink my world down to my wants, my needs, my feelings.
That means sin is fundamentally anti-social. I was meant to live in these two communities: Loving worship of God and inner dependent love of my neighbor – but sin turns me in on myself.
Sin causes me to think: “I don’t actually love you – I like you in my life as longs as you are loving me as much as I love me – Sin actually causes me to dehumanize the people in my life. People become either vehicles or obstacles. If they help me get what I want – I love them, and send them cards and flowers. If they stand in the way of my desires……I’m spontaneously angry.” Paul Tripp
How are you doing today in your relationships? Are you viewing people as vehicles to get what you want or as obstacles stopping you from getting what you desire?
Do you have someone you need to apologize to for your wrong behavior? Is there someone you need to forgive for their wrong behavior toward you?
God’s glory is always at stake. He’ll give us the grace to live in a way that honors Him.