Monday, October 4, 2010

Building Relationships

For a while now, the Lord reminds me to “build relationships.”  I must be honest and forthright here.  Sometimes, I struggle with what that actually means.  Does it mean to build on new relationships?  Is God telling me to reinforce the old ones?  How much time should I invest in people’s lives? Who should I approach?  What do I do?

Then I read Luke 6:37-38.  Jesus said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

This passage spoke to me differently than before.  Most people see this passage in the context of unbelievers criticizing believers for telling them they are going to hell if they do not accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Sadly, many Christians believe that context, and it is simply not true.  Here is the truth:  Jesus is speaking to his disciples on relationship building in this short passage.  “Do not judge” and “Do not condemn” are other ways of saying, “do not base your relationships on presumptions, hearsay, and inconclusive results.”  If we choose not to build relationships with others based on cultural differences or personality differences, what good will that do us?  We must NEVER find ourselves in a pattern of avoiding people because of differences of culture, personality, opinions, etc.  Jesus had dinner with sinners, and went out of his way to talk to a Samaritan woman in a time when Jews and Samaritans were forbidden to communicate to each other.  We MUST take the time to spend with people.  Cultivate deep spiritual relationships earning the trust of those who normally would not trust you.

The next part is so encouraging!  “Give and it will be given to you.”  What does this have to do with relationships?  Well, it’s kind of obvious!  If we are willing to give our time and our resources to people outside of our “friendship circle,” God will bless it.  I’m not talking finances here.  I speak of trust, honor, and influence with the people we choose to give our time to.  Our Lord is sure to reward that behavior with “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.”  WOW! 

Jesus also said, “For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Again, when it comes to relationship building, how do we measure relationships?  Whatever measure we use, the same measure is used thus for us.  So, love unconditionally, forgive unconditionally, give unconditionally, and see what God does!

I want to challenge you today to build relationships outside of your comfort zone.  Always take the message of Christ with you.  As you live a life pleasing to our Savior, you may very well find you will gain favor from the most unlikely people, and lead them to a life changing decision to follow Jesus Christ!  Be encouraged, child of God!  You are worth more than all the earth can provide.  Therefore, go today and make disciples!

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