Since honesty is good for the soul let me go ahead and admit it… I’m not very relationship savvy. Oh I know how to be cordial and polite and engaging. But I sometimes wrestle with the weightier issues that are critical elements of healthy relationships.
I whole-heartedly believe that God wired all of us to be relational in how we do life because it’s at the core of what the Father, Son and Holy Spirit share – perfect community, sacred connectedness. But that also makes relationships a prime target of the enemy – Satan.
He started by disrupting Adam and Eve’s relationship with God by planting a seed of doubt as to whether or not they could trust God. We see his handiwork in Cain killing Able. And today, we are a people largely clueless about pursuing healthy relationships. That’s why I find the following insight so valuable.
Confess, forgive, give, celebrate. These are the habits that will change everything. Once these four routines define the rhythm of your heart, life will be noticeably different. Why? Because these habits empower you to settle your outstanding debts with others, God, and even yourself. Removing the debt-to-debtor dynamic from a relationship paves the way to better communication, understanding, and openness.
Confession allows us to come out from hiding. Forgiveness allows others to come out from under cover. Generosity allows us to partner with God as he shows himself in tangible ways to the world around us. Celebration makes us a vehicle through which God communicates his pleasure. That’s what you were created for, and that’s why these habits have the potential to change so much about our lives. Nothing goes untouched.
— Excerpted from Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley
Pause and reflect on your relationships. Ask God to speak to your heart about anything you might need to do to take the next step in building a healthier relationship with the people in your life. And if you wrestle with not wanting to do the hard stuff – as I often do – then ask God for grace.
We are never more like Jesus than when we intentionally pursue healthy relationships built on trust, honesty, forgiveness, compassion and mutual respect. We see it lived out in how Jesus did life with others – setting an example for us.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” ~ John 15:12