Relationships can be difficult. If they were easy, we wouldn’t have broken families, divorces, broken hearts, misunderstandings, lack of forgiveness, bitterness, resentments and the list could go on. But relationships are also a gift; it would be a lonely world without them.
A key I have found to successful relationships is intimacy with Christ. Through intimacy with our Creator we can learn so much. What is intimacy with Christ? It’s getting to know Him through pursuing a relationship with Him. He’s real, with a real personality and we humans are made in His image with a mind, a soul that consists of the will and the emotions, and a spirit that will live forever. Once we get to know Jesus, we really can’t help but love Him because we find out how very good He is. He is the good in the world, He is the giver of all good gifts and He Himself is a gift. He will rescue anyone who calls on His good name and give the gift of salvation.
But how can we get to know this God that we cannot see? The same way you get to know anyone. Have you ever fallen in love? I just attended a wedding. The groom had written and sung a song to his bride about when they first met and how she had “undone him”. It was beautiful. He didn’t know anything about her but he wanted to. So he pursued her, he talked with her and he listened to what she had to say with every fiber of his being. He was interested and wanted to learn all about her. He liked what he learned and that made him want to become the best possible person he could be because he felt she deserves his best. It became about serving her and not him; he wants her to be happy and he wants to do right by her.
That’s what it’s like when we get to know Christ. It’s not about following a bunch of rules; it’s about Him loving us and us loving Him. We want to make him happy, to put a smile on His face, we want to please Him more than we want to please ourselves. Why? Because we find out how good He is and we realize how very much He loves us even to the point of laying down His life so that we would/could have eternal life. I know of no other greater love than His. He gave me a beautiful picture of His great love for me personally. I want to share it with you because He loves you this strongly too.
I was in chains, literal chains in this picture. Shackles were on my feet and chains were tightly secured around my wrists. I’ve never had literal chains on but in this picture I did. And the timing of this picture was set back in the day of slavery. I was a slave girl and we were all lined up at the water’s edge so that people could check us over to see if they thought we were worth buying. I was a slave and I was full of shame, so much so that I kept my head and eyes down. I wouldn’t look up at anyone. But this particular man came and saw me, He saw me. It was like he knew me better than I knew myself. He lifted my chin with His fingers and my eyes met His and they were the kindest eyes I have ever seen. His eyes were full of love and acceptance toward me, not judgment or hatred. He had come not to buy a slave but he had come to purchase a slave to set her free. That slave was me. I was enslaved to fear and insecurity and doubt and habits that were taking my life. But Christ came to set me free.
I made the best choice of my entire life when I made the decision to follow Jesus Christ. I have walked with Him for over 30 years now and I love Him more today than when I first met Him. Why? I’ve gotten to know Him personally through His Word and through walking with Him. Through talking with Him and knowing that He is always with me, He never leaves me nor forsakes me as Heb. 13:5 says. I remember the first time He spoke those very words to me in my heart. It was life giving to me. I was in a very painful situation in my blended family; a very hard relationship and I had been betrayed. My heart was absolutely broken like a frail china piece thrown to the ground. I was curled up on my bed in the fetal position crying my eyes out. And then I heard those words spoken to my heart and it changed me and I felt like I could go on because my God is for me and not against me. People hurt each other, plain and simple. But when you have intimacy with Christ and when others hurt us, and they will, we have someone to run to with our pain and questions. He promises to never leave us or forsake us when we make Him our Friend and Savior. Though men will hurt me and fail me and I them, there is One person who does only good to each of us and that is Christ.
In blended families, relationships can particularly be hard and we may not have high relational capital in those relationships to deal with the problems.
But one thing I have learned, if you find out how much you are loved by God, you can then love others more readily and accept them the way they are more freely. I’m not saying it’s easy because we all have people in our lives that are difficult and hard to be around. But if we can say a prayer for them before getting with them and listen to God on how to relate to them, the relationship may become easier. They may never change, but you may change in that the problems just don’t get to you like they once did. You can go in peace and still love that difficult person and forgive them because you have been forgiven and are loved. And you know this through your relationship and intimacy with Christ. He makes all the difference; He is the solution to every difficulty we will ever face. He doesn’t promise to remove problems from our life or even difficult people but He does promise to walk through those problems with us, if we let Him.
What a Friend we have in Jesus. He is the One that I cannot live without now that I have found Hm.
James 4:8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.