What do we want most out of life? Most of us would rank healthy relationships
high on the list, Except for knowing Christ and having eternal life, healthy relationships make life enjoyable perhaps more than anything else.
KJV:12, Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
ESV:12, Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
KJV:13, Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
ESV:13, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive
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
the most important thing in life.
A Jewish religious expert asked Jesus in > Matt. 22:36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
Hear what Jesus reply them in
Matt.22:37-40 “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is
the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
A loving relationship with God is of first
importance; but loving relationships
with others is second. The Bible is all about these two important relationships.
Because the 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 bounce from
church to church, leaving a trail of
damaged relationships behind.
I know of Christians who 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.
In our text, Paul gives the prescription
for healthy relationships. If you’ll consistently practice these qualities, you’ll have healthy relationships.
Paul acknowledged this when he wrote >(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 Paul enumerates in our text, he will change for the better in how he relates to you.
But even if some relationships
never improve, if you relate to others as Paul describes here, most of your
relationships will be healthy.
Paul first gives basis for the
commands which follow, namely, how
God has treated us:
- God has graciously chosen
us in love to be set apart to Himself.
Paul begins by stating that God has
graciously chosen us. This means that if you’re a Christian it’s not because you
first chose God, but because He chose
you before the foundation of the world
- We should treat others with
compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, and forgiveness.*
Actually, there are five nouns:
compassion, kindness, humility,
gentleness, and patience, which are
probably set in contrast to the five sins in verse 5 and the five other sins in
“Bearing with one another and
forgiving each other” describe the way in which those five virtues are put into practice.
So, because God graciously chose us in love to be set apart to Himself, we
should treat others with compassion,
kindness, humility, gentleness, patience,
forbearance, and forgiveness. His
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.