The Freedom to Experience Real Relationships


Every one of us has relationships. Our relationships have many levels. Most relationships remain shallow or never go deeper than being comfortable with each other. Now it’s true that we can’t be intimate with every human being we meet. Sadly, most of us walk through life lacking any depth in the level of relationships with people whom we should be very close to. God’s ideal is we go to the deepest level of relationship and intimacy possible with these people. How is that possible? Jesus. He frees us to experience real relationships.

In intimate relationships between two imperfect persons, conflict and problems are inevitable. There will come a time when a difficult issue will arise and need to be addressed. How does one confront someone about a difficult issue? The better question to ask first is this: “What gives me the right to confront someone about a difficult issue?” The Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 6. What is the godly response when we see our brother or sister caught in sin?

Throughout Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he is reminding us that the whole issue of salvation and sanctification is solely the Spirit’s work in our lives. It is given by grace, not earned by our hard work. Our job is to participate with the Holy Spirit. The flesh contests with the Spirit’s will; the Spirit empowers us to live lives pleasing to God. Salvation is God’s work, from start to finish.

It is also the Holy Spirit who enables us to have real relationships with others. When Adam and Eve were created, God intended them to experience a deep level of openness with Him and with each other. Our deepest relationships are with God, with your spouse, family, and dgroup. They are the ones we should go to with our hurts, and meet them in a safe place.

The human heart is looking for that safe place. In there, the human heart is able to talk to another about the most sensitive heart issues. In there, the human heart is able to share openly and honestly about heart issues. In real relationships we move beyond a distant or impersonal “surface or comfort level,” to a “safe place” where two persons can allow each other to be completely open. In that safe place, secret wounds can be shared. In that safe place secret wounds are mended.

That can only happen when the confrontation is done God’s way. God’s way provides the right level of personal relationship between two intimates. God’s way gives us the right to confront others with heart issues and allows us to receive the Holy Spirit’s help and empowerment. When we have the answer to who gives us the right to confront, the Holy Spirit shows us the how.

God’s way is this: the Holy Spirit, the Creator of our hearts, gets involved in our relationships. He is the one who understands the human heart the most, and he helps us understand others. So even in dealing with conflicts and heart issues we need to walk in step with the Spirit.

A heart filled with the Holy Spirit will bear the fruit of joy and love and gentleness… everything we need to put us in the right attitude to approach or confront others. So what gives us the right to confront? Power and motive.

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass… Paul sets the condition: if any of our brothers unintentionally blunders into sin–not just when our brother is willfully sinning do we confront him.

…you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness… When we are filled by the Holy Spirit, then we can take the step to restore our brother. Our approach: gentleness, which is the Spirit’s fruit. We can’t confront our brother without the Spirit. Restoring our brother is then about him and the Lord; not ourselves, not our egos. Your motive is to restore – not embarrass, not humble, show your right, put him in his place. …each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted… When you are empowered by the Spirit He keeps you humble. He knows you can fall into the same sin if not careful. One such pitfall is spiritual arrogance–”I’m spiritually superior and you’re not” thinking. This is a very real temptation. Contrast this with a spirit of humility: When the person knows you believe you could fall also, he does not feel judged. He feels safe!

Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ… When our motive is to restore brothers then their burden is not just theirs. It becomes ours, too. This is the love that Christ exhorted to show each other.

Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35).

For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself… People empowered by the Spirit never think they are to special to help. Instead, they assume Christ’s attitude and realizes they are servant to all. God brings people within our circle of influence for a purpose. Ultimately, it is to bring glory to His son.

But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another… It is not a spirituality contest with anyone. Our only desire is to imitate and please Christ.

For each one will bear his own load… The great freedom this brings is that you are responsible to love and help your fallen brother – no matter what his reaction is. Whether he listens or not is not your concern. Your concern is to do God’s will.

You let God deal with it.

May the Holy Spirit free you and take you to that safe place in your relationships.

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