‘…It is not good that man should be alone...’ Genesis 2:18 NKJV
God’s plan for your life always requires building relationships with the right people. To succeed, you must be able to recognise these people and work with them. Remember Jonathan, who loved David even at the cost of his own life? Or Ruth, who loved her widowed mother-in-law Naomi and gave her a reason to live again? Or Paul, who wrote about Timothy, ‘…I have no man like [him]… For all men seek their own…’ (Philippians 2:19-21 KJV) God wouldn’t say, ‘It’s not good that man should be alone,’ then tell you to do it all by yourself. But there may be areas in your life that need to be healed before you can enter these relationships and enjoy them. There’s a world of difference between ‘using’ relationships and ‘heart-ties’. Blood-ties don’t wear as well as heart-ties. So allow God to work on you. When you are ready, He will make the necessary introductions. In the meantime, get to know Him better. Make His opinion the source of your self-worth. If your last relationship stripped you of worth and drained you spiritually, use this time to get back on your feet. You may never have this opportunity again.
And one more thought: begin to love as God loves. He sees your imperfection, handles your rejection and loves you regardless. That should help you not to throw someone away because they made a mistake. You wouldn’t discard your car over a faulty part, right? If God forgave you as you forgive others, what shape would you be in? Come on, let God teach you how to build lasting relationships.
‘…Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud…’ 1 Corinthians 13:4 NCV
Do you remember the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son? He wanted the privileges of being a son, but not the obligations that came with being a brother. And because he couldn’t celebrate his brother’s return, it cost him his joy. Contrary to what you may have heard, speaking critical words doesn’t make you feel better, it just makes you more miserable and keeps the issue alive. The Bible says, ‘Pleasant words are…healing to the body.’ (Proverbs 16:24 AMP) If you value your opinions more than your friends, you’ll defend your opinions and destroy your friendships. When conflicts arise, step back and look at what’s really important. Give others the benefit of the doubt. When working with yourself, use your head; when working with others, use your heart. Learn to be flexible. Thomas Jefferson said, ‘In matters of principle stand like a rock; in matters of taste swim with the current.’ Don’t major in minors, and stop fighting over things that ultimately make no difference. Be gracious with others in the same way God is gracious with you. Mature love allows someone who has failed to ease out of the situation with their dignity intact. Once you’ve made your point, back off! In life, you’re always going to have disagreements. They’ll either give you ulcers or give you understanding-the choice is yours. Don’t over-react. When conflict arises make it a time to learn, not lose. If you’re serious about building good relationships, live by the words, ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’
‘Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other.’ Romans 12:10 NLT
Deep within each of us is a desire to run our own lives and, in some cases, other people’s lives too. As a result we become experts at manipulating one another. This desire for control brings about different behaviours. Here are six of them you must be aware of and avoid if you want good relationships: (1) Emotional blackmail. ‘Do what I want or I’ll get angry and go to pieces.’ (2) The guilt trip. ‘How could you do this to me after I’ve done so much for you?’ (3) The eternal illness. ‘Don’t upset me. Can’t you see I’m not well?’ (4) Help from beyond the grave. ‘Your dear father would have agreed with me.’ (5) Divine revelation. ‘God told me you should do what I want.’ (6) Humiliation. ‘Do what I want or I’ll embarrass you in front of others.’ These are powerful tools we use to get others to do what we want. And not only are adults good at using them, teenagers can be masters of manipulation too, especially if they’re not thinking straight. ‘I want this thing so badly I’ll go and do something stupid (even if it hurts myself) if I don’t get it.’ An argument that becomes a dangerous cry for help is the worst nightmare of many parents of teenagers. Manipulation is a game any number can play—right in the privacy of our own home. But those who engage in it pay a high price in conflict, hostility, and resentment. What’s the answer? The Bible gives it to us: ‘Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other.’