God is a relational God. Relationships are key in living our lives in vibrant community. It has been proved that people have better overall health when they pursue healthy relationships. There are three aspects to this.
The Lord wants us, firstly, to show respect to one other. Respect is the glue and cornerstone of relationship. We learn to feel safe with each other and we will not need to wear a mask, but openly admit our mistakes, where we can say “I’m sorry I was wrong”. This is the way to show respect to others and be respectful also to ourselves, we are all made in the image of God. In Matthew 18:15, Jesus deals with relationships in the church, where we are told to speak to our brother or sister and deal with things privately. To show respect is a sign of maturity.
Secondly, the Lord wants us to develop trust with one another. Trust equals a sense of security and loyalty. You can rely on a person you trust. Using defence mechanisms instead of developing trust prevents us from having loving and healthy relationships. The memory of things that happened in the past often prevent us from trusting others. We need to learn from Jesus who in spite of spending three years with His disciples, gave grace and opportunity to those who had failed Him when the going was tough. We rob ourselves in relationships if there is no hope of restoration. It is amazing to see how Jesus handled Judas when he was about to betray Him. He calmly let him go his own way, and without bitterness. Letting go of those who have an unrepentant heart is very difficult.
WThe third key to biblical relationships is love, genuine affection. Love is sacrificial, love is a person. In 1 John 4:16, it says “God is love, whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in them”. We are mistaken to say love equals God, as love is not a thing in and of itself. This is the mistake the world often makes. When love is just a force it becomes not a biblical but a cultural definition. God is the One we are to honour and worship, He is the source of love. He is the greatest force in the universe. God has no equal. This is the reason why we are exhorted in 1 Corinthians 14:1 to follow the way of love.
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth, this is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence” (1 John 3:18-19)
We love because He first loved us. Love conquers all because God is love.