Friendships and Relationships

We talk a about Loving and sharing Kindness with each other here at Sunrise Chapel a lot…and for good reason. It is the righteous path to our God and the life He wants us to live until we’re called to be by His side in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Most of us believe good relationships are built on strong friendships with a solid foundation. I myself am a firm believer on this and what I would like to speak about this today with all things said relating to both friendships and relationships. I think you will find, they really go together.

While scouring the Internet through all my Bible resources I came across a simple scripture reading from a Senior Pastor, George Feiser, whom I recently was introduced to at the Changing the Face of Christianity web site. He simply listed 10 building blocks, or topics, that we should be using when building our relationships asking that we rate ourselves on each one. I wanted to elaborate a little more to help you understand.

Ten Fundamental Building Blocks

  1. Frequency

It’s important that we ensure to spend quality time with our friends. We need to take the time to let them know how much we care; how much they mean to us; and how serious an impact they have made on our lives. Do you meet enough with your friends and let them know your feelings?

I know, I know… sometimes our friends are across the country but we still consider them our nearest and dearest friends. Well, I suppose that could be due to our cell phones, email, chat and all the other means we have with communicating but, nonetheless, it’s important to stay in touch.

Hebrews 10:25 – “Let us not give up the habit of meeting together. Instead, let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching”

Acts 2:46 – ”46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts”

  1. Authenticity

Romans 12:9 – ”9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

How true are you with your friends? Are your feelings for them sincere? Does it break your heart when they’re away or when they’re hurting? If yes, perhaps you do understand the true meaning of friendship.

The people we choose to be in our lives are there for a reason. Some of our friends are closer than our family. You didn’t simply stumble across them for no reason at all. We need to make them understand our inner-most feelings for them and that our hearts are true.

1 John 1:7-8 – ”7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” We must always speak in truth with those we Love.

  1. Maturity and Growth

Romans 1:11-12 – ”11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”

When our relationships had begun, they were immature, a seed planted in our lives by God. It is up to us to see that they flourish and ripen into maturity.

Ecclesiastes 4:10 – ”10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

Hebrews 10:24 – ”24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds”

How can we Test/Grow the Maturity in our Relationships?

In order for us to maintain a life-long relationship, it is important that we keep it strong, keep it mature and constantly test ourselves and work on our weaknesses. The Bible give us many lessons on how we can achieve this…

2 Corinthians 13:5 – ”5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”

Ephesians 4:29 – ”29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

1 Thessalonians 5:14 ”14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”

  1. Courtesy

1 Peter 2:17 –”17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”

We have spoken about this before in our lessons about being humble and kind. Our friendships or relationships give us an excellent place to practice these Godly traits.

When your wife or girlfriend makes you dinner; your husband or boyfriend washes your car; when your good friend buys you a drink at a local restaurant or bar… lets not forget to say our pleases and thank yous. In seeing this behavior you will help to raise your children and all those around you to do the same as they will see God graces in you.

Romans 12:10 – ”10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Romans 15:2 ”2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”

  1. Sympathy

Colossians 3:12 – ”12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

How many times have those you Love been in pain? Were you there for them… did you comfort them in their misfortune or did you turn a deaf ear?

Sometimes when those we Love are in pain, their words may seem harsh which causes us to ignore their obvious plea for help. We need to recognize their discomfort and simply be there for them to lean on and help them down the path to recovery.

Romans 12:15 – ”15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

Galatians 6:2 – ”2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

  1. Humility

Romans 12:16 – ”16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”

This too can be a difficult venture. We’ve all worked hard and earned every little thing we have. Some, less fortunate people, haven’t had the same good opportunities as we have. It is important that we keep our heads out of the clouds and our feet firmly planted on this Earth until God no longer needs us here. Remember your elders as well, they have a lot more knowledge and humility than you might imagine.

1 Peter 5:5 – ”5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’”

Help with Humility

Its isn’t always easy in today’s society being a humble person. This is especially so when those around us aren’t even close to being humble. So, let’s ask the Bible for some guidance on this topic… how can we be more humble with our lives?

Ephesians 4:2 – ”2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

That seems pretty simple don’t you think? Instead of treating everyone as if they’re your attackers, treat them as you would a friend… with Love and kindness.

Philippians 2:3-4 – ”3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Remember the lesson we learned last last week…

Matthew 7:3 – ”3Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Always be self-examining. Look deeply at yourself and your own thoughts before criticizing another.

  1. Honesty

Proverbs 24:26 – ”26 An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.”

I don’t know about you, but I like a kiss every once in a while. How often do you “kiss” your friend and do they “kiss” you back with honesty? As we all know, this is hugely important in any relationship. Without it, we simply don’t have one.

Ephesians 4:15 – ”15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

Proverbs 12:18 – ”18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

  1. Mercy

Colossians 3:13 – ”13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

We’re all going to argue. It’s simply human nature. It’s how we handle these little run-ins, how we react and recover to them that can help us solidify our relationships.

Remember, we are entitled to our own opinions but should always have an open mind to others. Sometimes, words are best unspoken.

  1. Confidentiality (Proverbs speaks a lot about this)

Proverbs 11:13 – ”13 A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.

Sometimes our friends reveal to us their deepest, darkest secrets… the things that bother them the most and cause great grief to their hearts. God wants us to keep these between us and them… if these feelings were meant to be shared with other, it is up to them to do so.

Proverbs 16:28 – ”8 A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.”

  1. Unity (of Purpose)

1 Corinthians 1:10 (A Church Divided Over Leaders) – ”10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

Really… how important is this? Abraham Lincoln related to this (unity) in his acceptance speech to the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination of state senator. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” He later lost that race to Stephen Douglas but this statement became one of his best-known speeches of his career into the presidency.

We need to speak to one another with kindness and respect… always trying to understand each other’s statements or opinions. You may be surprised if you really listen intently.

At the end of the day… how would our Lord and Savior react given your situation? I’ll bet you there would be no harsh words exchanged… we need to do the same.

Go with God, go in Peace and Love… Treasure and respect each relationship you have or you may have them no longer.