In Whose Order Do We Follow? (part 1 –> here) we touched on the biblical order for church life and the importance God places on fellowship and relationship. Jesus emphasized this in John 13:35 when He said: “All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other,” hence the importance of relationship. But what are some other aspects of a healthy relationship?
Healthy relationships are intimate
We typically reserve intimacy to very few people in our lives. Experience tells us we will not have intimate relationships with many.
Intimacy is closeness and speaks of familiarity. It is affectionate and not “surfacy.” Intimacy = into-me-you-see. It can make us feel uncomfortable and cause us to squirm a little, but why?
We can probably agree that we live in a time when relationships tend to be superficial. Displaying our lives on social media does not equate to true intimacy or transparency. We tend to only display the good part of our lives; in fact we take the best of the good and edit those images to display a “perfect life.”
True intimacy involves getting down and dirty, sharing our hearts and not judging when someone shares theirs. Intimacy is feeling the pulse of the person we are sharing our lives with and that takes time, effort and much honesty.
Are we willing to go there?
Healthy relationships are mutual
Simply stated, a healthy relationship will never be a one way street.
We need each other – understatement of the year, right? When it comes to honing the skill of giving and taking, receiving and sharing, we never arrive. No one is an island onto himself and isolation can be a form of pride. Of course as with all relationships, one party may have a more dominant personality. Each of us, however, has a voice, so let your voice be heard; each of us has a unique personality, so let it shine. Someone may just need to hear what you have to say.
Healthy relationships will face adversity
Just because we’re friends doesn’t mean we have to be a carbon copy of each other’s personality. We need to be who God has created us to be and because of it, we may face adversity and conflict.
In Luke 17:1, Jesus said that it is inevitable that offenses will come. Dealing with offense is the price of true relationship. I don’t know of many healthy relationships that have not gone through a certain level of conflict. The key is going through conflict, and not settling in the conflict which often causes the relationship to stagnate and sometimes end.
The question is, will we grow through conflict or meltdown under the pressure of unmet expectations? Will we instead pursue clarifying a misunderstanding? It is important to remember that offenses will happen, the key is learning to resolve, move on and grow together.
Relationships are just plain good for all of us
Experts say that relationships and friends can help us create good habits, rid depression, overcome disease, help us live longer and bring a level of happiness.
Julianne Holt-Lunstad, professor of psychology and head of a study at Brigham Young University explains: “Not having a social support network can be a higher death risk than obesity or leading a sedentary life without exercise.” This is somewhat sobering, in fact could it be that relationships are more important than we are willing to admit or risk.
There are psychological and physical benefits to healthy relationships, we should therefore, invest in one another and reap the benefits healthy relationships can bring.
Someone said: “Love me without restriction, trust me without fear, want me without demand and accept me for who I am.” (Author Unknown) I believe this is what everyone of us desires, to be loved and accepted for who we are and just as we are.
Jesus said He would build His church and that hell itself would not be able to defeat it (Matthew 16:18). The Greek word for church is ekklesia, which means called out people. The church here is not a building or an organization. No building or book of church rules can build people and develop relationships. Relationships are developed as we open our hearts to the people we lock arms with, become vulnerable and grow into the men and women God purposed for us to be.
Church is more than brick and mortar, it is an imperfect you and me working to figure out our lives and purpose together.
Let’s grow together!
Davide has a unique communication style that has given him a platform in the marketplace to use his “get the job done” skill set.God has instilled in Davide a passion to equip the body of Christ through teaching, mentoring and speaking life through experience and wisdom of years.He is deeply passionate about pursuing and cultivating the presence of God. He currently lives with his wife of 31 years, Lois in Charlotte, NC. They have 3 amazing children with their married spouses.