A person who does not understand what the relationship means cannot practice it. He or she will fake it instead of sustaining it. The mistake we make when we are talking about relationships is that we think someone is supposed to initiate a relationship, and when our expectation from the person is not met, we begin to take offence. This is also serious among the so-called Christians. The philosophical reasoning about the relationship is everybody to maintain it and sustain it. It is not a one-sided action. When one lacks the culture of a relationship, one will begin to feel rejected. As you expect someone to relate with you; you too must make a move to relate with others.

Humans are created as relational beings. We are created to relate with our God and our fellow human beings as well as other creatures. We were not created to live in isolation; we depended on God and others for our survival. Therefore, the issue of relationships is very important for Christ’s disciples. Christ’s disciples must have Christlike behaviour and relate well with other people so that we can fulfil our purpose for existence.

A lady shared her experience at a bus station in Lagos one morning. A robber attacked her and took her wallet and phone right amid other people waiting to also get a bus. She screamed and screeched, but none of the bystanders came to her rescue.

Loving our neighbours is a commandment given to us by Jesus Christ. This is what He emphasised when He summed up all the commandments into two in Mark 12:29-31. God wants all believers in Christ to love their neighbours and show it through their actions and dispositions. Understanding this will help Christ’sdisciples in demonstrating their love to their neighbours as they relate together.

A Baptist Pastor was invited to teach on the topic “Understanding the Beauty of Relationship” at the Nigerian Baptist Convention. Listen and exhaust the powerful message. Rev. Dr I. A. Okoro. Please ensure you listen to the second video and finish below.

Relationship is love and love is relationship.

Love has to be expressed this is why the beloved challenged believers not in words, but in actions (1 John 3:18). Jesus’ disciples are called to be affectionate towards people around them in their neighbourhood, workplace, church, and they find themselves. We are to demonstrate love in both our horizontal and vertical relationships. The vertical relationship is between us and God, while the horizontal relationship is between us and our fellow human beings. In what ways can we show love to our neighbour? This will be our next discussion.

Since we are called to show love in actions, we need to seek practical ways to show the love of Christ. The following are some practical ways to express love to people around us:

Meeting their needs: People have various needs at various times and we can show love to them by meeting those needs as much as we can. We can meet their needs by giving them money and using our influence to help them secure employment or spend time with them.

Sharing in their joy/pain: As Christ’s disciples, we show love when we share in our neighbours’ joy as well as their pain. The Scripture encourages us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). When we laugh with them in their happy moment and share in their tears when they are down, we show them the love of Christ.

Praying for them: Praying for people is one great way to show Christ’s love. Do not just tell someone you are praying for them, ensure that you pray for them. When you pray for your neighbours, you commit them to God who can help them beyond what you can do for them.

Lending a helping hand: The challenge of the modern world is making it difficult for people to help those in need. People look for those in danger due to fear of becoming victims. As Christ’s disciples, we are to show especially to those who are desperately in need of help.1o9

Visiting them: Visiting people is an act that is fast fading away in our busy world. Yet, Christ expects us to visit people and get to know them better. You can visit people in their homes, hospital prisons or their workplaces.

Encouraging them: Everyone needs encouragement at one time or the other. With words of encouragement, we can lift someone, put a smile on their face and give them reasons not to give up. By this, we show Christ’s love.

Listening to them: Sometimes, the love some people need is to get someone to listen to them. We can show Christ’s love to people by giving them listening ears and offering our suggestions when necessary.

Preaching Christ to them: Everyone needs to hear. No one is exempted from the salvation plan of God, but not everyone has heard the Gospel. Therefore, we should obey Christ’s command by sharing the gospel with our neighbours (1 Corinthians 13:8).

Stop backbiting: The command to love our neighbours is one we cannot but obey; that is why disciples must always seek practical ways to show love to those around them. As Christ asked the man (an expert in the religious law) to go and do likewise, believers are challenged to demonstrate genuine love to their neighbours for Christ’s sake. This will teach us how to handle our observations as the children of God without spoiling the white garments of our brothers and sisters. Are you a child of God or a churchgoer?

Observations and Communication among Christians

One adage says that words are like eggs; once broken cannot be recouped. This adage underscores the delicately fragile nature of spoken words and points to the fact that our words are so powerful. They can make or mar, build or tear down. That is why the Bible simply says “he who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity”(Proverbs 21:23).

Qualities of Good Conversation: As Christ’s disciples, we are expected to have wholesome conversations with people. The following are some qualities of a good conversation:

  • A good conversation is always courteous and puts others into consideration (Philippians 2:3).
  • It stems from love and is void of selfish ambition or ulterior motives.
  • It edifies and is always seasoned with grace (Colossians 4:6).
  • It guarantees wisdom and understanding to the listeners.
  • It turns away wrath(Proverbs 15:1).
  • Gives healing to the hurting soul(Proverbs 16:24).

Why We Need to Watch Our Conversations: We are the salt and light of the world. Salt seasons and preserve while light illuminates and these attributes must reflect our Conversations as Christ’s disciples. Our words should encourage others and give them direction. Disciples of Christ should not be found speaking words that make people depressed or plunge them to the brink of despair. Believers in Christ must be quick to listen and be slow to answer, as well as slow to become angry, as Apostle James put it in James 1:19. Doing this will prevent speaking unwholesome words that can lead to quarrels or fights. Bad conversations can promote strife and cause enmity between people. For this reason, we must consider every word we speak and make sure it is appropriate and gracious before speaking.

Continue the message here. Carefully ensure to finish this message. May God make you understand the beauty of relationships.

Do Not Revenge

It is a natural human tendency to pay people back in their coin, letting those who offend have a taste of their own medicine. 1 But is that the way God wants us to handle hurt or treat those who wrong us? Our lesson today centres on how to handle hurt or respond to those who offend us. How should we respond when it seems the thing to do is to pay back the evil done to us? How do webandle vengrance?

The Issue of Revenge: Revenge is to punish or hurt somebody in return for something bad that they have done to you, your family, or your friend. It means to inflict punishment because of a wrong done. People take revenge for various reasons. Sometimes, it is because the person feels the offender did the wrong intentionally, other times it’s because the offended person would not want to be taken for granted. Some people take revenge because they have what it takes to do it such as power, position or money and they consider the wrong done to them as something that undermines their worth. Taking revenge brings relief to some people; it makes them happy that the other person too will experience the same degree of hurt even more than they had experienced. Whatever reasons people have for revenge, disciples of Christ need to look at it in light of the Scriptures. They must see it the way God sees it.

The Dangers of Vengeance: In relating with people from different backgrounds, there is no way we will not offend one another. Friends, neighbours, family members, colleagues and church members can hurt us. Because of our varying temperaments and our different dispositions to issues, we may offend one another. We have to learn to forgive and let go of offences because God abhors revenge and the harm done by vengeance is often greater than the initial offence. The following are some of the dangers of taking revenge:

  • It destroys healthy relationships and love that exist among people.
  • It takes away the peace, love and joy that comes with forgiveness.
  • It entrenches hatred in the hearts of both parties.
  • Thinking about the hurt and the way to revenge makes it difficult to move on.
  • It makes healing difficult.
  • It might result in self-inflicted embarrassment or more pain.
  • It is a direct disobedience to Jesus’ instruction that we should forgive those who trespass against us(Matthew 6:12).
  • It hinders prayer.
  • It is harmful to our health.

Why We Should Not Revenge: When others offend us, we are commanded not to revenge for the following reasons:

  • God does not allow it(Romans 12:17-19).3.
  • It does not portray Christ’s character of love(John 13:34).
  • The hurt could be to our benefit and uplift(Romans 8:28).5
  • It strengthens our faith and dependence on God who is in control of our lives and situations.
  • It reminds us of God and His forgiveness which we enjoy from time to time(Colossians 3:13).
  • Forgiveness provides an opportunity to showcase Christ’s love even to difficult people (Matthew 5:44-45).
  • It allows God to fight on our behalf (Romans 12:19).

Conclusion

God wants us to live peacefully with other people and one way to achieve this is to control our tongues. The Holy Spirit is there to guide us on how to speak and let us know when to keep quiet. Our conversations must reflect the life and character of Jesus Christ, our master. Holding back forgiveness from someone who has offended us is harmful to our health. The earlier we submit our pains and hurts to God, the quicker our healing. The command never to avenge is imperative and must be obeyed by Christ’s disciples. Take a step to forgive your offenders and let God begin the healing process in your life.