“Why don’t you break the cycle? Let love win.” – The Hunger, Fireflight

So often I have been faced with a situation where I experience frustration in my relationship with someone. Where my input is not welcomed and my insights not appreciated at all. While all the while I know, yes I just know, just like that, that my perspective is better and my approach would solve their difficult predicament. I used to feel it was my Christian duty to tell someone they are doing something wrong or whether their efforts are insufficient, always convinced that standing up for and defending Jesus’ honour was admirable. But in truth I was merely defending my own reputation. Let it never be said of me that I am a pushover, right? These comments were of course always backed by scripture references and testimonies of my personal righteousness and how my humble yet biblically well informed opinions have saved many less righteously inclined. I feel sorry for the poor souls who had to sit through those arrogance fuelled conversations. Shame ….on me.

In our families, marriages and friendships we are certain to find disagreements and difference of opinions. The fact that we assume to have a superior revelation or truth to offer doesn’t necessarily mean we should just voice our opinion just because we have one.

James 3:16 For wherever there is jealousy [envy] and contention [rivalry and selfish ambition], there will also be confusion [unrest, disharmony, rebellion] and all sorts of evil and vile practices. 17 but the wisdom from above is first of all pure [undefiled; then it is peace-loving, courteous [considerate, gentle]. [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is whole hearted and straight forward, impartial and unfeigned [free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity].

God made it abundantly clear to me that in order for the relationships in my life to start working, I need to start working on the relationships in my life. Just as He first loved us, we have to take the first step and love, unconditionally, the people in our lives. No more sitting on the side waiting for that person to approach you first. I’ve often found myself in this very confusing situation, waiting for acknowledgement, which will only serve to appease my nagging conscience that there is more I could have done. The problem with this give-and-take approach to relationships is that when we are not acknowledged or treated even somewhat well, we take the dignity and respect we feel we are owed by emotionally bulldozing the situation into a favourable (favouring you) one. This results in a punishing and controlling connection, us always longing for validation in our opinions. But when we operate out of respect for someone else’s point of view we create an atmosphere of acceptance, and only then can growth occur. As mentioned in Part 1 of this blog, a loving relationship is also an empowering relationship. One which allows both parties the freedom to be themselves and to grow as God teaches and leads them. Where there is no desire to manipulate someone else into behaving appropriately (according to you), where we do not demand respect and there is no coercing into agreeing with my feelings. We often times validate our actions with our good intentions, duly failing to show the same curtesy towards another, not acknowledging that their intentions were well but the delivery not up to our standards.

James 3: 18 and the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace…….

There is no rationalisation that will ever justify selfishness. No reason can be big enough to neglect the interests of the other person, not how hurt we are or how rejected we might feel. We need our love to surpass what a person might be going through, and remain undeterred by the weight of our and their emotions, constantly aware of the yearning in their spirit and ministering edification, in the midst of disagreement and difference of opinions. We can only attain this by seeing what Jesus saw and calling out the very essence of Jesus in them. Imagine looking at your family and seeing only potential and never disappointment, considering every attempt made as an achievement, discerning only beauty where there might be disorder and mess, celebrating individuality and a strong will as a God given gift instead of an assault to your own will, imagine singing over your husband with gladness and having the courage to fearlessly and limitlessly love every person who has ever done you wrong. Let the love of God make us brave again, to weather the storms of affliction from people by walking on the water. May His unfailing love prove ever trustworthy in every situation and may He teach us to talk with grace and humility.

Look out for the next blog in our series LOVE& and please leave us a comment or suggestion. Love you!