By Renee D.
Life is about relationships. Unless you are a hermit, which most of us aren’t (read that again), life is about relationships. No matter your age, your position, or your calling, life is about relationships. With that said, we find that most people don’t like conflict, many people don’t want to interact to help improve relationships, and almost no one wants to put the work into salvaging damaged relationships. Relationships can be found at different depths and in different areas of life. The personal family dynamics, the church family dynamics, and a step away – relationships with the lost.
We all enter every relationship with different perspectives. These perspectives generally come from preconceived ideas and patterns developed throughout our lives, ranging from childhood to this very moment. Perhaps we have great relationship skills and perhaps we do not, but our relationship skills can always be improved upon. A really terrible way to improve these skills is by trial and error, even if it is an effective way. Hearts can be damaged by trial and error. Many have yet to recover from unhealthy interactions. Many people cannot move beyond the hurt of poor relationships.
A better way to improve relationship skills is to study each type of human relationship as it is found in the Word of God. The Word of God provides many, many examples of interactions between people and groups, as well as plainly written expectations of God. I have gained the majority of wise counsel first and foremost from the Bible. Seeing Truth, embracing Truth, and acting on Truth, with regard to God’s Word, is number one.
I have also gained change in my life from books written by people who hold the Truth of the Word in the highest regard. The first, “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life” a book written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend has been one of the most valuable books in my library. The book has since been broken down to target more specifically, books that were once just a chapter of the original book.
The Word of God as well as the Boundaries books, have helped me to know how to love Truth, and others by setting healthy boundaries. We need to use boundaries to mature in our relationships. We need to use boundaries to help grow into rightly responding individuals. When we embrace healthy boundaries, it also helps me and others to grow and take responsibility for their relationships.
I have since read other books written by Dr. Henry Cloud and I have gleaned so much. One of the things I appreciate about how he instructs people to interact, is that his goal is to build stronger, better, and more loving relationships for the sake of Christ. The goal of boundaries isn’t revenge, harm, or paybacks. The goal of boundaries is better relationships.
A major awakening occurs when we realize this one great truth about relationships. This truth is that – we can only be responsible for one person, ourselves. We can only control one heart, one mind, and one manner of interaction – our own. This truth doesn’t mean that we don’t grieve the actions and reactions of others, but it means that we can think more clearly and truthfully, and respond more rightly in every given situation. This truth doesn’t mean we give up on others, but that we help them own their own relationships. Healthy boundaries grow everyone.
How do we manage our relationships? If we study to show ourselves approved, I believe we won’t be ashamed. Something we as PW’s can hold onto tightly is – I am called to act and react, in a Biblical way, to everyone who comes across my path. Whether someone treats me rightly or not, I am called to act and react in a Biblical fashion. I hope you are able to invest some time into a study about relationships. After all, ministry is all about helping others find God, through Christ, and repair their broken relationship with Him through the Cross.