Sometimes, I post certain devotions that I have used before – either because it is on my heart to do so or that particular thought needs repeating. This past week I have been evaluating my relationships and want to send a reminder to you to do the same.
Every few months, I try to evaluate my relationships. I actually give them a rating – 10 is excellent – 1 is really bad. I start with my relationship with God, then my spouse, my children, my parents, my sibling, my friends, and my co-workers. It is almost comical to me because whenever relationships aren’t what we’d like them to be, it’s human nature to immediately access what the other person is doing wrong. “If he would just do this or if she would act this way…” When I evaluate my relationships, I force myself to look at what I am doing wrong or not doing or doing too much of.
Jesus was asked which of the Commandments of God was the most important in Mark 12, He responded in verses 29-31, ““The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
The question was prompted by a teacher of the law. He overheard Jesus answering such questions as marriage at the resurrection and paying taxes to Caesar. What’s interesting is the Bible doesn’t indicate that Jesus pondered an answer. He didn’t rub His thumb across His chin or scratch His head; He didn’t say, “Wow! Now that’s a great question, let me see…” Without pause or contemplation, Jesus answered him. That should tell you and me how important personal relationships are to God and how much we need to value and respect them.
The greatest detriment to relationships with others is our actions and how we handle certain situations. Jesus gives us specific instructions as to how to handle what we encounter with people; and usually how we handle our end of the bargain governs how God will judge us.
Matthew 5:38-42, “38 You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
Matthew 18:15-17, “15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
John 7:24, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
Think on your relationships today. How are you measuring up? How are you treating others? We cannot control how someone else treats us, but we can control how we react to them. Today, take time to consider your role in the relationships you have. If you can’t rate them over a 6 to 7, there’s work to be done. Always, start with what you need to do to improve on your end.