I’m a little addicted to Pinterest. Just a little. Some of you will relate. It’s a veritable treasure trove of creative ideas and handy hints and a reliable source of inspiration for almost every project, storage conundrum or DIY task you could encounter. “3 ways to do that”, “5 things you didn’t know about this”, “74 games to play with one balloon”, “how to remove any number of stains from your clothes, carpet, couch or cat” … you name it!
Pinterest boasts over 70 million active users and I would posit that its success is found in the fact that it taps into people’s general desire to “get better”; to “move forward”. To always be growing and improving, becoming more proficient at what we already do or to learn something new.
We’re always investing time in learning. We read books, magazines and blogs, we watch things on TV, we talk to people with more knowledge or expertise, we go to classes or buy the latest tools and gadgets. We are constantly looking for ways to be more efficient or effective – in our work place, in our sheds and workshops, in our homes … to save time and money, to get better results.
Imagine if we were to invest that kind of energy and effort into our relationships – into loving people BETTER! Imagine! Imagine if we took classes in how to do relationships or read books on the topic. Imagine if you had groups that got together JUST to discover how to be better at communicating or conflict resolution or understanding people in your life. Imagine!
The resulting transformation in our relationships, our families, our communities … our world … would be immeasurable!
In John 13:35 Jesus says that our love for one another will prove that we are His. The testimony of loving, healthy relationships will show that we are Jesus’ disciples because when we love we look most like Him. And when we love like Him we show a hurting, broken, needy world a way of living and doing relationship that is different to anything they could experience apart from Him.
I know what you’re thinking – and I tend to agree – all of your relationships would be so much better if “they” were better at loving! How many people do you know who could benefit from some good up-skilling in their relationship-doing!? There are so many people who really need to get better at communicating, serving, listening, anticipating, obeying, apologising (& forgiving), remembering, submitting … you know what I mean! They really should read this article. You should forward it to them!
Romans 12:18 says, “…as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
As far as it depends on you! And by ‘you’ we can gather Paul is talking more to ‘me’ than to ‘them’. As far as it depends on ME, live at peace with everyone.
What would it look like for you to do everything that is possible to make all of your relationship better? To take full responsibility for everything that ‘depends on you’ – your attitude, your pride, your responses, your language, your tone, your generosity, your sacrifice, your effort.
In the next 5 blogs we’ll look at specific ways we can grow and increase our capacity to love others. But it starts with embracing this idea first: at least SOME of the relational conflict, tension or disappointment you experience ‘depends on you’. Not all, but probably some – and probably more than we would care to acknowledge.