BY REV. DR. EMMANUEL NAWEJI - HARRIS & LAKE PARK UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
One thing I have been thinking about a lot these days are relationships, which are very hard, and it takes a lot of work to make them go the way we want. The foundation to establish healthy relationships consists of these four components according to me: love, respect, integrity and trust. When relationships lack at least three of the four, they become fragile and very unstable.
To help you visualize what I am talking about is to think of a four-leg table (or chair). When you take any of the four legs out, the table (or the chair) becomes unstable. Any little pressure on the table can make it fall and possibly break to the point of no repair.
I love when Paul talks about love in 1 Corinthians 13, verses 4-8. He looks at love as the most excellent way to live as a member of the body of Christ (see chapter 12). Love helps establish some ground for the other three: trust, respect and integrity.
The above four relationship components apply to the church too. As some of you know, I was at Annual Conference in June with Neal and Rebecca Luitjens. We, United Methodists, have been struggling with love, trust, respect and integrity. The root cause of this struggle is our Biblical approach to the four elements of relationships with God and each other. Go to my blog, www.emmanuelnaweji.com, and you will find an article I published a day before the annual conference.
"How to resolve all of this?" I am glad you asked!
First, start with God. God is love (1 John 4: 7-21). God can show us how to love each other. You see what God wants you to see or hear only when your spiritual eyes and ears are open. God can help you with all that through prayer and scripture reading. Second, rethink your boundaries and decide how to use them to help you establish healthy relationships and maintain the ones you already have. Last, but not least, surround yourself with sound and God-fearing people. Bad company corrupts good character, which implies the ability to love, trust, respect and live with integrity (1 Corinthians 15: 37. NIV).
My hope and prayer is that we all allow God to melt, mold and fill us with the Holy Spirit. We can only do all things through Christ, who can strengthen us to do so (Philippians 4: 13)!
Happy Fourth of July to you and your family!