To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9 (NASB)
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
Today we finish up our third week of a series designed to help us tackle those areas of life that are ongoing, constant, and could stand some improvement in the new year that lies before us. There is a kind of tension we experience from these ongoing, constant areas of life that nag at us. This is particularly true of this week’s area of consideration: relationships.
Pastor Ben said in his message this week that the primary source of tension in relationships comes from the fact that people at their core are selfish. We want what we want and we want others to do what we want. The problem of tensions in relationships because of selfishness, runs through all the settings we have looked at this week. To wrap things up for the week, we look today at relationships in general.
Getting relationships right has everything to do with overcoming “selfishness” in favor of “selflessness.” Having things be sweet and rosy at all times, no matter what it takes, is not what is in view here. Whether it is in the setting of the church, the home, the neighborhood, the workplace, or the (marketplace) world, sometimes confrontation is needed and just sweeping things under the rug becomes counter-productive. When such moments come the question that remains is whether we will operate out of selfishness or selflessness. Sometimes confronting someone is the selfless thing to do, while not dealing with a matter is downright selfish.
One of the surest measures of how selfless we really are, comes in those relationships where the pursuit of getting the relationship right is not a two-way street. A commitment to operating out of selflessness and not selfishness must be maintained even if it is not reciprocated. This is a tall order not only because the other person isn’t going in the same direction but also because supporting each other is not in the mix either. This is where having a vibrant connection with Christ supported by vibrant connections with God’s people is particularly important.
These are the exceptions. For the most part selflessness in relationships will mean that we are more focused on others and what will bless them, rather than the other way around. This is what today’s Scripture is saying to us and it is a fitting description of how to live out our commitment to getting relationships right. We are called by God to be a blessing to others, but we do not bless in order to be blessed. However, we will inherit the blessing of God when we consistently live to bless people in the various settings of our lives.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, thank you for the work you are doing to improve my relationships with others in all the settings of my life. Continue to strip away my selfishness and make me selfless. I commit myself to seeking you fully and relying on the support of others who are on the same journey. Lord, I love you, I worship you, and I bless you. Amen!
Posted on Sat, January 23, 2016
by Alan Porter