Pursuing Wholeness in Broken Relationships
This is a guest post by Deb Koster, producer of Family Fire. Family Fire is a Christian ministry committed to fanning the flames of the Holy Spirit in our family relationships. Thank you, Deb, for your contribution to Mom Remade.
Do you struggle with loving the difficult people in your world?
God has designed us for community; we find blessing when we are in loving fellowship with one another. Yet we are all broken people and prone to pursuing our own self-interest.
Jesus told us that the greatest commandments are to love God and one another (Matthew 22:36-40). We worship God and show him love, but how well do we show love to one another.
So how can we connect in meaningful ways that will enrich our lives and the lives of others?
Perhaps we need to start with ourselves.
Don’t be Self-centered
Not everyone cares about our rants. People are probably not interested in having you talk through their movie. They might be annoyed if you are too busy playing with your phone to answer a question.
There are lots of behaviors that we fall into that lack compassion for the people around us.
Philippians 2:4 tells us, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.
We can’t look to the interests of others without setting aside our own need to be the center of attention. There is much we can gain if we set aside our inward focus and tune into the lives of others.
Put away your electronics and be present in the moment.
Give others the gift of your attentiveness.
When our eyes are distracted with electronics, we tell others in the room that they do not matter. What is on your phone is not more important than the people made in the image of God sitting next to you.
When people right in front of you can’t get your attention then you are too distracted. Open your eyes to see what is going on in the space around you.
Listen carefully to catch the emotions that are being expressed. Quiet your thoughts to wonder about the experiences of others.
Related: How to Get to Your Child’s Heart
Being critical or judgmental is a fast way to shut down conversation and lose the opportunity to connect with others in meaningful ways. Take time to listen and understand another person’s point of view before jumping to a response or rebuttal.
There will be times for speaking the truth in love but that should be after we have taken the time to engage and learn about how others have experience the world.
It is easy to be self-absorbed and talk about our own interests but God has called us to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Gal 6:2).
Put aside your self-focus to tune into the interests of others around you. Learn to ask questions to discover the passions and interests of those around you.
Ask people about how they are spending their time and learn where their passions lie and discover what things get them excited.
Loving questions can serve to bridge our differences and connect us with one another. We share a common humanity as people fashioned by God and made in his image.
Learning about the lives of others helps us to get a bigger picture of God and his love for his people.
Acting like you know everything or treating people with condescension are destructive to the health of relationships. As we live in community we have the opportunity to learn and grow from one another.
Scripture tells us that we play a role in shaping one another in community as “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
Be open to the correctives that others offer to you. Be aware that we all have blind spots that others can help us to see and correct. Don’t be dismissive of the advice that others are brave enough to share with you.
Eye rolls and a closed posture are never going to help you learn and grow. Be willing to accept the instruction being offered and evaluate it to see what has merit.
Being defensive or dismissive will derail opportunities to learn and fracture relationships. We are healthier people if we are open to correction.
James 2:26 reminds us that our faith is dead if it is not accompanied by actions. Look for ways to step into the lives of others and care for their needs. A listening ear or a helping hand show to others that they matter.
Compassion should always flow from our words and be echoed in our actions. Caring for one another helps us to align with God’s heart for showing compassion to the least of these (Matthew 25:31-46).
Jesus calls us to be sacrificial in demonstrating love for one another. We are called to live following the model that was set for us in the person of Jesus.
Let your actions speak love so that those around you encounter Jesus.
The truth is, we’ve all been failed by someone in our relationships. As you seek to pursue health and wholeness in your life, we would like to offer you access to our free Family Fire ebook Forgiveness: A Guide to Relationship Repair.
We hope this guide provides you with resources to develop the essential skill of forgiveness.
Book on Family Estrangement from a Biblical Point of View
Are you experiencing family problems? Perhaps you and a loved one are no longer speaking. Don’t go another day without reading this book. It addresses family problems and estrangement from a biblical point of view. Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart is on Amazon or in your favorite digital store.
Get Creating Family Memories for FREE in exchange for your email. If you get this book, it will help you build a good relationship with your kids so that when the hard times come (teen years), you will be able to weather the storm.
Scroll down or look to the side to sign up. You can also get it at your favorite bookstore.
Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Parenting and Family. This is a place for moms with preschool-age kids or older to talk about their struggles with parenting, family life, education, or marriage. You will find biblically-based advice from other moms who want to raise godly kids.
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