Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Real relationships

Good morning. This is a devotional for single adults from Parenting Solo, but the message also applies to single adults without children who may one day marry a single parent and be a step-parent. Feel Free to forward it to a friend.

Scripture: Matthew 18:15 (The Message) “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him – work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend.”

If only it were that simple: “Work it out between the two of you.” That single line may be among the most difficult in the Bible for us to grasp. We humans just don’t do conflict well. Issues between two people can get to the point in which both lives become consumed. Anger simmers, and hatred is just around the corner. Bitterness cannot be far behind. When a friendship is broken, Satan smiles.

That is why Jesus made forgiveness the heart of his ministry. He knew just how important forgiveness would be. He also knew how tough it would be for us to grasp the concepts. That is why he urged us to ask forgiveness and seek reconciliation as soon as possible. Don’t wait. The wounds will only fester and spread to the heart. Then it begins to affect every relationship in our lives. Just the way Satan wants it.

Relationships demand trust and honesty. Trust is built on honesty. When someone is hurt by another person, trust is put on hold until amends are made. Satan wants us bickering with our friends. He wants us angry at one another. He wants us to put off seeking forgiveness because that means healing, and the relationship depends. He wants us on edge, so that true friendship cannot happen. He likes shallow friendships. Depth scares him, because God is into deep relationships.

When two friends can forgive and reconcile, it helps us to see God’s plan of grace. It makes it easier for us to go to God and confess our sins. When we know it is easier than we thought, we are free to go to him more often. Our faith grows with our openness and honesty. Real relationships demand trust. When trust is built, authenticity occurs. That is what God wants for us, with him as well as with our earthly relationships. When we have real relationships here on earth, we grow closer to God, because he created us to be relational. Real faith isn’t about trying to be perfect before God; it is realizing that we aren’t perfect and we need a God who forgives all our sins. Jesus Christ died for each and every one of those sins so that we need not carry that burden.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, thank you for forgiveness and reconciliation. Help me to not be afraid to come before you with my sins. Amen

Doug Mead

Parenting Solo

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Vol. 3, No. 113

This week’s reading plan can be found at http:/www.oneyearbibleonline.com/august.asp?version=51