The milestone birthday of my wife, Norma Jean. The recent passing of our beloved Aunt Selma. Attendance at the Florida College lectures. Our move last year to North Texas. The kindness and love expressed by our new Church Family.
All of these thoughts remind me of the old adage “life is all about relationships.” People are more important than material possessions, personal opinions, or political positions. Business success, financial net worth, and social standing all take a back seat to our relationships with people.
Sadly, we too often neglect what is most important in our lives to chase after that which is fleeting and leaves us feeling shallow, empty, and unfulfilled. Our lives are enriched by our families, friends and brethren in Christ.
The Bible has a lot to say about the importance of relationships. Building relationships. And nurturing relationships.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Prov. 17:17)
“As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.” (Prov 27:17)
“Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”(1Thess 5:11)
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph 4:32).
“Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.” (Eccl. 4:9-10)
These principles apply to our relationships in our homes, churches and communities. They will go a long way in not only strengthening our relationships, but in making new friends.
Many years ago I came across a piece written by my favorite author, anonymous, entitled “Ten Commandments of Human Relations.” It is still applicable in our hi-tech 21st century.
1. Speak to people. There is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting.
2. Smile at people. It takes seventy-two muscles to frown, only fourteen to smile.
3. Call people by name. Music to anyone’s ears is the sound of his/her own name.
4. Be friendly and helpful.
5. Be cordial. Speak and act as if everything you do is genuinely a pleasure, and if it isn’t, learn to make it so.
6. Be genuinely interested in people. You can like almost everybody if you try.
7. Be generous with praise, cautious with criticism.
8. Be considerate with the feelings of others. There are usually three sides to a controversy: yours, the other fellow’s, and the right one.
9. Be alert to serve. What counts most in life is what we do for others.
10. Add to this a good sense of humor, a big dose of patience, and a dash of humility, and you will be rewarded manifold through life.
Of all this says that our relationships will be better when we take the focus off of our ourselves. Really care about other people. And look for ways of building up others, instead of tearing them down.
Furthermore, never underestimate anyone’s importance. Everyone has worth. Dignity. And value.
Finally, when in doubt about dealing with a relationship issue just practice the golden rule. “Treat other people the way you want to be treated.” You can never go wrong by following the advice of Jesus.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman