Summary: As Christians, our desire should be to have strong relationships because they speak volumes of our relationship with Christ

Recovery of Right Relationships

James 1:19-21,

August 18, 2013

Series: You Pick

Morning Service

If you think your family has problems, consider the marriage mayhem created when 76-year-old Bill Baker of London recently wed Edna Harvey. She happened to be his granddaughter's husband's mother. That's where the confusion began, according to Baker's granddaughter, Lynn.

"My mother-in-law is now my step-grandmother. My grandfather is now my stepfather-in-law. My mom is my sister-in-law and my brother is my nephew. But even crazier is that I'm now married to my uncle and my own children are my cousins."

From this experience, Lynn should gain profound insight into the theory of relativity. (Sermonillustrations,com)

Sometimes relationships can create a sense of confusion but they are part of the fabric of life. Each day we deal with the reality of relationships. How we handle those relationships speaks volumes about who we are and what we believe. Not every relationship is the same and we all have different kinds of relationships. Every time we deal with people, we are dealing with the commodity of relationships.

Here are just a few of the relationships we encounter on a daily basis:

* Parent-child

* Spouse

* Siblings

* Employer – employee

Biblical basis for relationships

1. God is the foundation of all relationships

There is no possible way to have good relationships with other people and not have a right relationship with God. The moment that people neglect their relationship with God, they are really short circuiting all of their other relationships. A right relationship with God gives us the foundation to have effective and successful relationships with others.

2. We were created for relationships

Life is made up of our different kinds of relationships. There is no way to fully communicate the impact that relationships have on our lives. The quality of our life is not based in material things but in the quality of our relationships. People can have massive material possessions and wealth but live in a poverty of relationships. Our relationships make our lives have value.

3. Relationships are the bridge of the gospel

God uses the basis of human relationships to communicate the message of the gospel. Relationships are the medium that the good news spreads. Notice that when the good news was shared in the New Testament whole families and households were impacted, not just one person. Sharing the gospel means that we begin in our closest circle of personal connections and work our way out.

James gives some excellent advice on maintaining healthy relationships in chapter 1. 19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

Three ways to maintain healthy relationships

James lays out some of the basics of developing and maintaining healthy relationships. Three issues will make or break us in the area of relationships more than any other. We must be willing to listen to others. We must be slow to speak and slow to become angry. These keys will help us in any relationship that we have and keep us from making some major relationship mistakes.

1. Be quick to listen

We have two ears but only one mouth that we may listen more and speak less - Zeno

Listening takes time, willingness and patience. The fact is that people are looking for those who are willing to listen. Most people today will not take the time to listen to others. Those who are dealing with problems and pain often need help but also they need someone to listen.

Relationships mean that we care enough to listen to others. Many problems that happen in relationships are a result of a lack of communication. Misunderstandings, misinterpretations and misconceptions happen because people do not actively listen to one another. If we do not take the time to listen to those closest to us, we will see those relationships slowly start to crumble. Listening is not only a matter of hearing with our ears but also we have to listen with our hearts.

2. Be slow to speak

One problem with many relationships is that everyone wants to have the last word and to have their opinion matter more than others. The issue that rises from this attitude is that not everyone is going to get the last word and someone is going to not get what they desire. The reality is that problems with the desire to speak flow from a lack of desire to listen. When we speak more than we listen, we are out of balance with others. James advises us to reverse the norm.

Slow to speak means that we speak with humility and patience. The words that we use are not said in haste but with care and precision. Many believe that wisdom is having something to say but that is not always the case. Acting in wisdom means that we listen carefully, consider prayerfully and speaking quietly.

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