Hello everyone and welcome to episode 50 where today we consider three reasons for why relationships are worth the work they take to grow and maintain.
Before we get into this, I know some of our listeners aren’t aware of my private email list I use to send a brief email every Wednesday. It’s my Every Wednesday email that offers an insight, thought, or tip to find more joy in your relationships.
To get access to my Every Wednesday email, just go to johncertalic.com/podcast, and fill in the blue and while form you’ll see on the page.
Back now to the topic for today’s show. Do you ever wonder if relationship are worth it? Even in the best of circumstances, they can be a lot of work. Misunderstandings. Unmet expectations. Communication breakdowns. Hurts, etc. Are relationships worth the work they take?
In last week’s episode, “Sacrifice in Relationships,” We saw in Romans 12 of the New Testament the apostle Paul speaking of how relationships require sacrifice for them to work. To sacrifice means we have to give up something. And it has to be something important. It’s not like a veagn or vegetarian giving up pork chops for Lent. That’s not a sacrifice at all.
To sacrifice in our relationships means saying no to our natural inclinations.
In the 21 verses of Romans 12, 8 of them are directives to “do not.” All 8 of them are what we naturally gravitate toward in our relationships. Is it worth the effort to counter these proclivities of ours?
Listen in today where we look at 3 reasons why relationships are worth the the effort to make them the best they can be.
I start with the premise that we are all made for relationships. We were made for this. Given this fact, relationships are worth the hard work they require because first of all,
We were made to have a personal relationship with God so we can reflect his image and character.
There’s a wonderful relationship with the Trinity. Father, son, and Holy Spirit. We have the distinct privilege of reflecting the image of God, which is steeped in relationship. Relationships reflect the character of God.
God wants a personal relationship with us. This is the very first thing I learned about God when, as a 19-year-old college freshman, Carol our executive producer told me about him. I talk about this in episode 21, “The Most Important Relationship of All.” I also mention it in chapter 7 of my book, THEM. If God values relationships with human beings this much, maybe I would be wise to do the same.
Among other things, we learn in our relationship with God that he is all about truth. He’s all about forgiveness, grace, and justice. He’s all about love, kindness and compassion, and so many other qualities. We have the privilege of reflecting these and other characteristics of God to people.
When we give people a picture of who God is by how we relate to them, it certainly pleases God, just as Romans 12:1 states.
Secondly, We were made for our relationships to impact the world for good
Relationships are how we leave our mark on the world. Go to most funerals and what’s talked about concerning the deceased is the mark they left on their relationships with people.
Carol’s 97 year-old mother, Emma, died recently and the funeral took place yesterday, the day before this recording.
Gray harried 80-something’s of the ladies guild sang a song in tribute to Emma. The tone of voice of the lady who introduced the song spoke volumes of the depth of the relationship.
Emily, one of the granddaughters, spoke of her love for her grandmother, and how she taught her how to knit a wash cloth.
Pastor described her as “my friend Emma.” He always knew where he stood with her.
If I were still teaching, I would take kids on a field trip to funerals. I’d have them listen to the relationship stories shared. Then we’d talk about them, back in the classroom. What did those stories tell you about that person? What qualities of the deceased were admired? What was not said? What about the funerals where little or nothing was said about the relationships of the deceased?
What do you want said about YOU at your funeral? What are you doing now as a 7 or 17-year old to build relationships with people? What are you doing to impact the world for good through your relationships?
Thirdly, We were made for our relationships to grow us human beings created in God’s image
Our relationships is an important tool God uses to complete the good work he started within us, as mentioned in Philippians 1:6 (he who began a good work in you will complete it…)
Our relationships bring out the best in us, especially when we bring out the best in others.
We learn about ourselves through our relationships. We learn about our self-centerdness in relationships. We learn how to be more loving and compassionate in our relationships. We learn how to both extend, and receive, grace through our relationships.
A staff member took a candid photo of Janet’s mom at the memory care facility where she lives.
It shows Elda feeding her table mate, though she can barely feed herself
There is something deep down in her character that caused her to help someone. Alzheimer’s has robbed her of much, but not this relational quality.
Here’s what I learned today. Here’s what struck me
Life-giving, fulfilling relationships don’t happen by accident. They take work, it takes changing our natural inclination in how we relate to live counter – intuitively. It takes doing the opposite of all the 8 don’t’s Paul talks about in Romans 12.
And they take time. Lots of time…. But it’s worth the work. And it the work that only God can do through us. We need his strength and power to make our relationships the best they can be.
If you forget everything else, here’s the one thought, the one idea, I hope you remember from today’s episode. Our show in a sentence.
In spite of their difficulty at times, relationships are worth the effort, because we were made for this. It’s who we are. Without relationships we live a narrow, self-centered life, where we never grow as a person. With them, we have the potential to impact the world for good, one relationship at a time.
Here’s what you can do in response to today’s show.
Think about one relationship in your life that needs some improvement. Ask God to show you how you could make that relationship just 1% better today. Ask him for the power to do, so it reflect more on him that you.
I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, to both reflect and to act. So that you will find the joy God intends for you through your various relationships. Because after all, You Were Made for This.
Now for Our Relationship Quote of the Week
To have a few amazing friends on this side of eternity, this sometimes grotesque amusement park is the greatest joy. We cannot depend solely on our spouses to dump on, to share our intimate thoughts with or reveal our deepest truths to. Trust me, they have been through enough with us. Our yokes are heavy.
~ Anne Lamont, Almost Everything – Notes on Hope, p. 57
That’s all for today. See you next week. Bye for now.