So our Pastor asked us to consider four questions this week.
- What relationship needs to be initiated?
- What relationship needs to be nurtured?
- What relationship needs to be restored?
- What relationship needs to be severed?
I’m finding these to be some thought provoking and interesting questions.
What relationship needs to be initiated?
In considering this question, he suggested two scriptures. I like the Message version of Ecclesiastes 4:9-10:
9-10 It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!
Guess that gets right to the point now doesn’t it? lol The other verse is Luke 6:13:
When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: (NIV)
I’m picturing a scene where people are waiting to be picked for a team. Pick me, pick me! Never noticed before that “he called his disciples to him …” So wasn’t it really like that? He called everyone that had been his pupils (that’s what the word for disciple means) together and then picked twelve of them for his team. His leadership team. The word apostles means ambassador, representative of Jesus Christ, the King of kings, and Saviour of the world. Whoa! Maybe people weren’t raising their hand saying, ‘Pick me, pick me!”
Anyway. So Jesus had a leadership team. A selected few he let get really close to him. So who do I need to give that to in my life? I think the real question is more, ‘Who am I WILLING to give that to?’ I mean, look at what some of those that Jesus chose did to him. Someone that close can hurt me because I have become so vulnerable. This is really a serious question which will require quite a bit of prayer. I am still pondering and praying over this one.
What relationship needs to be nurtured?
For this question, he suggested consideration of Galatians 5:13-15:
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then? (MSG)
I looked into these scriptures and you know what, I think the interpreters of the Bible were way to easy on us at times. You know that word ‘serve,’ the real word, ‘douleuō’ means, “to be a slave to (literally or figuratively, involuntarily or voluntarily): – be in bondage, (do) serve (-ice).” WHAT?? Wait a minute, so this verse tells us that we were set FREE to be a SLAVE?? Interesting isn’t it? And get this one, did you notice that it said voluntarily or INvoluntarily? I’m not really liking this verse too much. lol And to top it all off, I could end up being a FREE INvoluntary SLAVE, but I have to do it all IN LOVE?? Yeah, so, THAT seems impossible to me. But that is where God comes in. As my pastor pointed out, this was written to Christians. It could be missed using the Message version but actually it is right there. In the NIV it starts off with “my brothers,” which the MSG version wrote out as, “God has called you.” You see, if you don’t have a relationship with God, then none of the rest of this verse is possible.
Anyway, so considering relationships to be nurtured. Well, I know I have a servant heart. I would do just about anything for anyone. So, not to pat myself on the back, but I think I can get the whole serve thing down. And MOST of the time, I can do it with a glad heart and out of love, not mine, but Christs. But this question is actually a really big one to me., because if I were to be brutally honest with myself, I don’t do much nurturing of relationships. I’m not one to make phone calls, plan get togethers, remember birthdays, etc. Call me up and ask me to do something for ya, and I am right there, for hours and days if you need me. But I just don’t seem to be the one that calls up and says, “Hey, you need anything?” or “Hey, you want to hang out sometime this week?” I might send an email to ya though, but I get that isn’t the same. So, I guess THIS question might be taking me some work since I would have to count almost any relationship I have as needing to be nurtured. hmmm
What relationship needs to be restored?
For this one, we looked at Colossians 3:13:
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
But you know what, this chapter is so full of information, you MUST read it all, check it out in the MSG version (use your back button to come back here), Galatians 3
So, did you see all the things we are supposed to do? Whoa, once again. This chapter is a sermon in and of it’s self. Of course, we should know what’s coming when it starts out with “So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it.”
Anyway, back to verse 13. That word ‘bear’, it means “put up with.” The word ‘forgive,’ means “grant a favor to.’ The word ‘grievances,’ means ‘blame or fault.’ Mixed with the word ‘against,’ it means someone you blame or fault someone for something.
So what I got from this is, if you have a problem with someone, do them a favor (and yourself) and put up with it, just like Christ put up with all your junk. uuhhmmm
The other scripture we looked at for this one was Romans 12:17-18:
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. (NLT)
What? Evil? I don’t really think I know anyone that would be EEVIILL. But, lets just see what that word really means. The word ‘evil,’ means, “worthless in nature,” “not such as it ought to be,” “of a mode of thinking, feeling, acting,” “harmful.” AHH! Oh no, the “worthless in nature,” part kind of got me, and I’m guessing you as well. Yep, I’ve done that a few times, repaid what someone has done to me with something worthless in nature. How about this one, someone has cut me off on the road, and I throw my hands up in the air (not making any gestures here) and called them an idiot. If only that was the only thing, huh. Oh, I’m sure we can all come up with worse than that, especially things we’ve done to those we love the most.
You know what struck me with this one, it says, “everyone can see.” You know, we’d like to think that we shouldn’t care what other people think of us, but maybe we should, in a balanced way. That word ‘honorable,’ means properly beautiful, but chiefly (figuratively) good (literally or morally), that is, valuable or virtuous.” So we should look like that to everyone. Oh, do I need to point out that the word ‘everyone,’ means ‘all, any, every, the whole?’ Um, I think that covers anyone that you were trying to not cover, <grin>.
Let’s skip to ‘peace,’ exactly what does peace mean? The original Greek word means, peace. That didn’t help much so I went to a regular dictionary, and the definition for peace is “harmonious relations; freedom from disputes” or “the state prevailing during the absence of war.” So really, this doesn’t have to be that difficult, at least, if you don’t live with the person.
Ahhh BUT, here is our escape clause, in the NIV it says, “If it is possible …” Whew, well then, that’s a big IF. And possible, well thank you for that one, because I just know I can’t …” Sorry, this is where Colossians 3 comes in, there aren’t any can’ts allowed. Remember, my paraphrased version of it, if you have a problem with someone, do them a favor (and yourself) and put up with it, just like Christ put up with all your junk.
Ok, so in this case, I don’t have to love them, I just have to like them enough that when I am around them, I am able to put up with their junk in such a way that I am not doing worthless stuff to them and everyone can see ME (not necessarily them) as good and there is freedom from disputes, as much as I possibly can. You know what, unless I am living with the person everyday, I think this is doable. So, got any relationships that need to be restored? I guess everyone will be able to tell if I have take this question and apply it, now won’t they?
What relationship needs to be severed?
How about some of those that were in the last bunch, sure would relieve me of a bunch of responsiblity?? hehe! Yeah, I wish. The scriptures to consider for this question were: 1 Corinthians 15:33 and 5:11.
Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character. (AMP)
Evil, still means the same as above, so that means “worthless in nature,” “not such as it ought to be,” “of a mode of thinking, feeling, acting,” “harmful.” Interestingly enough, if you read the NIV or KJV of this verse, the word translated as “companionships,” here is translated as “communications.” But, the original Greek word is ‘homilia’ which means ‘companionship, intercourse, communion.’ (Let me point out this is a good reason to not just take what you read in one translation.) I have to go to a regular dictionary for the meaning of these words, but basically it means, the state of being with, communicating with, and sharing thoughts and feelings with someone. So if I hang out with and talk a lot to someone who does a lot of worthless stuff that they shouldn’t do, I’ll … let’s see what will happen to me.
Corrupt and deprave mean to shrivel, wither, or spoil. So all my good manners (a way of acting or behaving) and morals (motivation based on ideas of right and wrong) and character (the way people think of: look on as or consider me) will be withered away and spoiled. Yeah, don’t think I want that, do you? But how do I decide who these people are? How do I decide which relationships to sever? I mean, we all have bad days, we all have SOME sin in our lives, don’t we? I don’t think I’d have any relationships left, umm, because everyone would have to get rid of me. hehe!
The pastor suggested this next verse: 1 Corinthinas 5:11:
But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to any object that usurps the place of God], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. [No] you must not so much as eat with such a person. (AMP)
Notice that the tense is present tense, not past tense, not future tense, present tense. They continue to call themselves a Christian AND continue to walk in their sin. Not those who slipped up once and repented (changed their ways). Those that CONTINUE to sin. So it’s spelled out, actually there are several places it is spelled out, I encourage you as you consider this question to review the blog I put together of NT Sins. It is VERY important to get the meaning of each of these listed here, the meanings may not be what you think they are. Again, the blog I just mentioned lays out the actual, Biblical meanings of these verses. As the pastor pointed out, this is in regard to OTHER CHRISTIANS. People who say they are Christians.
Versus 12-13 read:
What [business] of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? Is it not those inside [the church] upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment [passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require]? God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside. Drive out that wicked one from among you [expel him from your church].
And did you catch that, don’t even EAT with them? hmmm So, are there relationship I need to sever? I think if any come to mind, the harder question for most of us is how not who.
Lot’s of pondering, praying, and actions required now. Don’t ya think?
As Pastor Jim said, “Every relationship ends up somewhere, but few end up somewhere on purpose.”
To hear this message, check out: 30 Days to Live: Part 3