We don’t often have a vertical problem, it’s the horizontal where we have a problem. If you are of a certain age you will remember “The Six Million Dollar Man”. I see this as relationships that are barely alive. We can make them better. How can we make them better?
“It’s easy to cut people off and walk around angry.” – Min. Tony Fields
Here are five points to make relationships better:
Let Love Be Without Hypocrisy
Romans 12:9a and 10a (CSB), 9a. Let love be without hypocrisy. 10a. Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters.
LET and BE are italicized in the KJV, meaning let love be without hypocrisy. If you pretend to love, you will not be available when needed. You have to love enough to allow someone in your space. Love is beautiful in its chaos. Let your love be without pretense.
Outdo One Another In Showing Honor
Romans 12:10b (CSB), Outdo one another in showing honor.
It does not always mean big things. It can be “what can I do for you right now”? Not to get the big head. Church work can never be allowed where we outdo each other, and we don’t do this where we live. We are not excited about serving unless we get recognition.
If we always strive to honor each other, we will all be better. And if we are all trying to outdo each other, how can there be a need? We don’t have to be grand, sometimes it’s just the little things.
Stir One Another Up
Hebrews 10:24 (ESV), And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
It’s motivation. Not by saying, “I am speaking in truth and love”, but you are really criticizing. Motivate your kids and spouses by saying, “you did a good job”. Don’t assume that someone else is motivating the person around you. Motivate someone!
Be Patient With One Another
Ephesians 4:2-3 (NLT), 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
Another word is tolerate, but tolerance runs out. Love does not run out. We have to be more patient with young saints. As parents we have the worse amnesia. We forget what we did as young people. The patience you wanted, you have to deliver. Kids be patient with parents. They don’t know everything, but they know more than you.
“Some of us have forgotten what it was like to be 15.” – Min. Tony Fields
Forgive One Another
Colossians 3:13 (NLT), Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
We think if we forgive you, you are no longer guilty. That is not so. Forgiveness does not resolve your guilt. If God can forgive us, we can forgive one another. If you do not forgive, you are not forgiven. You cannot receive forgiveness because you are holding on to unforgiveness. That’s why we struggle. Forgiveness is not partial. You have to let go and turn your back on the crime.
“The best defense against ‘offense’ is forgiveness.” – Min. Tony Fields
Look at the story of Joseph. Through all of the trials, mistreatment, false-imprisonment, and slavery, yet Joseph still managed to forgive. And ultimately, the destiny of a nation lasted in the hands of forgiveness.