The human experience by its very nature is meant to be a challenging thing for all people and perhaps our greatest ongoing testing is found in cultivating and keeping healthy, loving relationships with others.
Think about all the different relationships we get involved in within a lifetime of living. Relationships with family, spouses or companions, friends, co-workers, neighbours, employers, business people, fellow believers, etc. are all part of our interaction as thinking, living, loving human beings.
Despite all our best efforts however, no one can wave a big flag and say, â€œI have been perfect in maintaining all those relationships as I ought! â€œ
However, the truth is as we endeavor to keep good, healthy relationships with others, we definitely feel more connected to our true selves and at one with our spirits and at one with the One who also created us.
Through the scriptures God gives us many principles to live by on how to treat others. Happy and well adjusted both in spirit and in mind is the person who follows these commands as best as he or she can with the help of Him who loves all people the same.
As I bring this series to a close with this article, please consider the following when it comes to being truly and lovingly connected with others so as to be truly and lovingly connected to both ourselves and our Creator.
Though there is so much more that could be added here to this subject, for the sake or brevity I will focus on what I think are the three big principles that warrant mentioning at this time:
â€œSpeaking the truth in love..â€ (Ephesians 4:15).
How difficult it is to maintain this ideal 100% of the time! Often times we can be reluctant to speak the truth to others for fear of offending or hurting them. Sometimes, because of our mannerisms or inability at times to handle stress well, we can also convey our messages in less than loving tones and with true empathy and compassion to the needs of others.
To rightly live this principle day in and day out, we DEFINITELY need the constant help of God in our lives…. to speak truthfully and in love both at the same time…to think and reflect deeply how Jesus engaged in all His relationships from His parents to His followers to His enemies and so forth…to let His pattern be our pattern, let His words be our words and let His love be our love towards others…we canâ€™t go wrong here when His spirit and His wisdom is guiding us from day to day.
We need to be forgiving of ourselves as well when we donâ€™t live up to this high ideal, and make wrong things right with others and God when we have to. Then â€œget back in the saddleâ€ once again and letâ€™s go live the way God calls us to live in this regard, with a clean conscience and a confident spirit.Â
â€œDo unto others as you would have them do unto youâ€. (Luke 6:31).
A common cynical take on this often-quoted scripture says, â€œDo unto others before they do it unto youâ€. This of course is meant to convey the idea that you best get the better of others before somebody else gets the better of you!
How far removed from the truth of cultivating healthy relationships does this kind of thinking purpose!
What Jesus says here however in Luke Chapter 6 is a principle of active engagement, of taking the initiative of doing good to others, as He reasonably assumes that we all want others to treat us right and be good to us.
Sometimes people think this command means not to do things to others that would hurt them which of course is good and right in its own context. However, God calls His people past this passive form of neighbourly action to one of thinking and considering how we can actively bless others daily even if they donâ€™t bless us in return. This is true godly living for the good of others at its best and we find that God blesses us in a reciprocal manner as we become more deeply connected to our true selves and Him.
â€œDo not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with goodâ€. Romans 12:21
This last command is sometimes the most difficult one to keep in our relationships with others since the hard truth of living here in this fallen world is that some others in all of our various relationships are ultimately going to hurt us at times and so we are left with the big decision on how we are going to respond to those injuries.
Some say, â€œI donâ€™t get mad, I get evenâ€ and then they conduct their response to the offending party by engaging in certain actions and words that endeavor to fulfill what their wounded emotions are telling them to do.
I remember once when I was conducting a funeral for a family that lost one of its members and one of the daughters of the dead father wanted me to add something to the eulogy that would cast the deceased in a negative light in front of the whole congregation.
Iâ€™m not sure what the hurt was that the daughter had experience when her dad was alive, but it was obviously deep enough and painful enough that even in death she couldnâ€™t let go of it in her spirit.
Nonetheless, the ability to totally forgive and let go of the hurts that others inflict on us I believe is often directly connected to what kind of relationship we ourselves have with God.Â Jesus said in Luke 7:47 that â€œhe who loves little forgives little..â€ and it is only as we are able to grasp in its deepest, most profound significance the incredible love of God that forgives us of all our sins against Him that we are then able to extend that same kind of amazing divine love and forgiveness to others.
Through this act of will, we trust that one day God will make all things right so we can live daily in unconditional love toward others and not be overcome by evil when we are the recipients of someone elseâ€™s hurtful actions. Living like this is how Jesus lived when He walked the earth andHe wants all His children through every generation to do likewise until everything is concluded and the final judgement is engaged.
As I conclude this series on â€œThe Oneness of God and Us â€œ, I want to thank you for reading along and I hope and pray you have connected in a deeper fashion with your own spirit and with the Spirit of God!Â
Questions? Comments? Write to Victor Cyr atÂ email@example.com
By Victor Cyr