This entry is in support of my message from the Fearless Living Series: Fearless Living With Your Family. At the outset I want to state that this message is not aimed at abusive relationships or mental illness. While some of the material may help it is important to seek professional help if you are in one of these situations.
The basis of a healthy relationship is unconditional love. This is the basis of our relationship with God. God loves us unconditionally in and through Christ. This experience is made alive by the power of the Holy Spirit burning within our hearts. This is bedrock for all human relationships because we cannot give what we have not received. If we are not grounded in radical grace then we will look to all our relationships to meet our needs. We will seek to manipulate, coerce and try to force love and response from others because we have not deeply received it in from God in Christ.
Secondly we must learn to forgive. God in Christ forgave us and empowers us to forgive. We will get wounded and hurt in our relationships. First we must learn to receive God’s forgiveness in Christ. Again, radical grace transforms us and allows us to forgive others.
Third we must learn to serve and not be selfish. Christ served humanity at all times, he came not seeking his own will but his Father’s will. Christ humbled himself, taking the form of a slave. For us it means learning to say “I’m sorry”. It means to truly listen to another human being without judgment, simply to hold them in love. It means to compromise and seek a win-win solution.
Lastly we need mature followers of Christ to speak into our lives. If we fail to review and reflect on our lives then we will be doomed to make the same mistakes. If we lack the courage to open our life before another trusted Christian then we will not see what others see and our relationships will again fail.
Here are some key books to read to support these points.
The Ragamuffin Gospel (Paperback)
by Brennan Manning (Author)
Embracing the Love of God: Path and Promise of Christian Life, The (Paperback)
by James B. Smith (Author)
The Wisdom of Tenderness: What Happens When God's Fierce Mercy Transforms Our Lives by Brennan Manning
The Selfless Way of Christ: Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life (Hardcover)
by Henri J. M. Nouwen (Author), Vincent Van Gogh (Illustrator)