We can learn a lot about the part we play in relationships when we practice asking God for his perspective and listening to him.
One thing I’ve discovered is I often react with envy and let this feeling hinder my relationships. I am envious if someone is more successful or looks better than me. My problem with envy is closely tied to my strength of competition, as competition is rooted in comparison.
I am competitive. Just ask my husband. He refuses to play board games, like Monopoly, with me, because my aim is to win, and I am ruthless in achieving my goal.
Being competitive also means I am instinctively aware of other people’s performance, and so I compare my accomplishments with their achievements. If they are doing better than me, then envy can flood my heart.
I know I need to work hard to make sure my God-given strengths and gifts do not become a weakness and weapon I use to destroy my relationships.
Likewise, I’m sure you want to make sure there is nothing you are doing to cripple your relationships, especially ones where you’re having a hard time with another person. Often, it’s so easy to see everything as his or her fault.
Instead, the Bible says we should be removing the log from our own eye before we remove the speck from the other person’s eye?
This is how The Message paraphrases Matthew 7:3:
Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. (MSG)
What we should do is focus on finding out how we are contributing to making a problematic relationship worse.
Instead, we need to put love into practice where pride often prevents.
This step is not only important for mending our earthly relationships but it helps improve our heavenly relationship with God, and makes our prayers more potent
James 5:16 says:
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (NIV)
Through faith in Jesus we are made right with God, but that doesn’t mean we are excused from all responsibility to work on our faults. We need to do our part in living as blameless as we can.
1 Peter 3:12 says:
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer. (NIV)
When we are right with God, he is paying close attention to what we say and the requests we make in our prayers.
However, before this verse we are told how to do our part so we are upstanding and outstanding in our relationships, and our prayers are not wasted.
1 Peter 3:8-9 says:
Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble…No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless…Say nothing evil or hurtful; snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth. (MSG)
With this in mind, what do you need to change to bring about reconciliation in your relationships?
Use 1 Peter 3:8-9 in your prayer to help you discover where you are at fault. Ask God to show you negative attributes and actions that are hindering your relationships, and what you need to stop.
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I sometimes add fuel to the fire when I am arguing with my husband. I try not to.
Since my mother passed away I have a different perspective on life. She was my rock and my safety net. I had a very hard time dealing with her loss. I am much better now. After cleaning out her house when she passed I began to care less about material things. I am working on my relationship with my husband. Things are getting better.
Jamie, I’m glad things are getting better with your husband. It’s hard to lose a mom, isn’t it? Especially when you’re close. I miss my mom, too. I cleared out my parents house with my sister (my dad died a year after my mom) and it really struck me that you can’t take all those “things” with you. It’s good to care less about material things and more about relationships. Hang in there, friend.
Don’t you think that competitive spirit is also a little addictive? That’s what I don’t like about video games. I like puzzles, but never have anywhere to leave one until I finish. I might play Scrabble with you, I would probably get out of your way on the slopes. ( Not planning to ski. ) People have lost that quiet, thinking type fun haven’t they? And sometimes, I think people just don’t get me or think I’m showing off because I’m a wordy. Some people are Wheel of Fortune and some are Jeopardy. Have a great a day!
I do enjoy a game of Scrabble. I used to play with my grandparents a lot when I was little. Once I was playing with my great aunt. I accidently dropped the dictionary in the middle of the board – and she was winning. She was most upset with me. I don’t think she saw the funny side of it.
Well said, Rachel. You demonstrate a great deal of insightfulness into who you are. I think one of our challenges is failing to observe the relationship including ourselves in it and what that looks like, sounds like. Thanks for these great reminders.
Yes, Pam, one of the challenges is seeing how we come across to the other person in our relationships. It’s especially challenging with texting, emails, etc.