Ponderings of the Priest

Sister, Husband, Friend, Brother, Wife, Son, Daughter, Cousin, Grandparents, more friends, colleagues, more children, neighbors, grandchildren, the people we know from church, even strangers, oh, and then, there’s Jesus ---relationships! EGAD!! They’re all around us!! 

Relationships – creating them, maintaining them in a life-giving way – this can be one of the most difficult tasks we as human beings try to do. And then! We add to this our faith and theology (the things Jesus boverfieldvestrypage picteaches us to do). This sometimes seems to make being in and sustaining relationships even more difficult.

Love. Forgiveness. Kindness. Compassion. Anger. Resentment. Hatred. Mean-spiritedness. Fear. Indifference. Selflessness. Selfishness. Generosity. Humor. Stinginess. Sadness. Joy. And then Love again… these can and do cycle through our hearts and minds in varying fashions and forms. All of them, and how we process, react or respond to them will shape the nature of our relationships. This is a process that is true for the entirety of our lives.

Our faith, and Jesus, can help us navigate these sometimes tempestuous seas and steer us in those life-giving, growth producing paths of our varied relationships.

Some key teachings from Jesus about relationships:

  • Love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
  • If you have a grievance with someone- talk to that person first, then bring someone else, then involve others.
  • Forgive 70 times seven – and even then, don’t keep count.
  • Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.

From the rest of the Bible:

  • The 10 Commandments are all about how to develop and maintain healthy, life-giving relationships. The entirety of Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy are dedicated to the same.
  • 1 Corinthians 13 describe the actions of love
  • Colossians encourage us to clothe ourselves in love
  • 1 John reminds us to confess our brokenness and to remain accountable. Other New Testament passages call us to change as we recognize the harm we cause others and ourselves.

And here are a few “secular” tips from various sources:

  • Before speaking, make sure what is to be said is: necessary, Kind and true. ALL three.
  • Ask the question, “a hundred years from now, will this make a difference?”
  • Recognize the futility in trying to control or manage the actions of any other person. The only one I can control or manage is me.
  • It’s not a competition.  (whatever “it” is)
  • Don’t Judge.
  • Be honest. (kindly)
  • Just be nice.
  • When a mistake is made: apologize, fix it, and don’t do it again.

There’s LOTS more, but here’s where it all begins: JOY:

  • Jesus
  • Others
  • Yourself

In that order. It all begins with Jesus and our relationship with Him. When He is our first point of focus from which our choices and actions follow we do well. Is it hard? Sometimes. The more we practice it, the easier it becomes. Is it important? It’s critical.

We find ourselves in an era where we as the human race truly struggle with right relationships. Our inclination is to avoid, isolate, reject and intimidate. The results are never good.

God has told us that we are created to be in relationship with one another. It is not good that we should be alone. It is through our mutual love of one another that we see the love of God reflected back at us. And while this, at times, isn’t easy, it is always good!

Yours Sincerely in Faith,  Brenda+