Jonathan's Perspective  

Sep 8

Fighting For Unity

Fighting For Unity

     The second law of thermodynamics states that all things move toward disorder if there is not additional energy put into the system.  If you don't believe that, just go into one of my kids' rooms!  Day by day clothing is shed and dropped on the floor, beds go unmade, and clothes that were tried on but not worn get shoved haphazardly into drawers.  The room will only get worse unless some concerted energy is put into it.  The same is true for relationships.  Over time relationships can be stressed when people feel slighted, demeaned, put down, taken for granted, resented, uncared for, and even betrayed.  Good relationships take effort.  We must fight for them daily, and, when things erupt, we must put even more energy into restoring them.  So how can we take intentional steps to bring health back into a broken relationship?

     First, let go your ego.  Paul tells us in Phil 2:3, 'in humility consider others better than ourselves.'  When we come out of the womb all attention is on us.  We think that we are the center of the universe and everyone is here to serve us.  Some people never grow out of that.  When we begin to value others more than ourselves - our spouses, our children, our coworkers - we invest in their lives.  Humility is not thinking less of ourselves.  Humility is thinking about ourselves less.

      Second, focus on the positive in the relationship.  I have seen too many couples who get hung up on the 5-10% their spouses do that annoys them, rather than the 90% that they can honestly respect and admire.  Relationships are too valuable to throw away and let break down over resolvable matters.  When we remind ourselves of the good qualities in others, we find our attitude shift to want to work through the rest.

      Third, pray for resolution.  Paul put it this way: 'By prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.' Phil 4:6-7  I have been as guilty as the next person, because too often I want to pray that God hits the 'smite' button to destroy my relational 'enemy'.  When we pray for the other person's good, God does something in our own hearts.  He softens us toward them, and opens up possibilities for peace.

      Fourth, allow the Holy Spirit to train your thinking.  Our minds are powerful tools that we must master.  If we don't, they will lead us into all kinds of self-deception and self-righteousness.  Paul called the church in Philippi to train their minds to always seek the high road.  'Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.' Phil 4:8

      Finally, take responsibility for other relationships.  I'm not talking about being a busybody, or taking sides in arguments between others.  Rather, encourage others to extend the benefit of the doubt to each other.  Encourage them to let go of their egos, to focus on the positive, to pray for resolution, and to train their minds to think on how to take the high road.  Everyone must do his and her part to fight for the health of all the relationships in our community.

      Don't let your relationships fall apart. Your spouse, your children, your colleagues, and your friends are worth fighting for!​​




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