Evil is all around us. Satan affects so many relationships. God never intended for our relationships to be adversarial. He gave us relationships for our good. We see that in the very beginning when He gave woman to man. God saw it was not good for Adam to be alone; he needed someone to be a compliment to him. Even Jesus chose twelve men to be His apostles. Of those twelve, Peter, James, and John seem to be the closest to Him. Among the twelve there were problems: while they walked with Jesus, they were concerned with who was going to be first or get the most attention. Friction, anger, ill will, hatred, bitterness, apathy all effect relationships. Every one of those attitudes come from the depth of Satan.
Think about the family relationship. There is a husband/father, wife/mother, and children. Multiple personalities brought together with the intention of being one. Husband and wife are designed to be companions but grow to be adversaries, often because of an unwillingness to deny self or because of a desire to have it “my way.” What was intended to be a “taste of heaven” becomes the horror from hell. Then, there is the parent-children relationship. The little bundle of blessing becomes an enemy in the very home that was intended to be a blessing. Not necessarily when they are young, but when they get older. In the years of maturation while still in the home, they begin to grow in their independence and the fight begins between parent and child. Parents have one thing in mind for their child and the child has another thing in mind for themselves; both dig in.
Also, think about the relationship between friends. God gave us people because He knew we needed someone to pick us up when we fall. But those very friends who are to be there to pick us up, put us down. They betray a confidence. They hurt our feelings. We feel that they let us down.
We could go on for every other relationship. Whatever the relationship, it turns out differently than God designed. What are we to do?
First, get the plank out of our own eye. No matter the relationship, I have got to look at me. As a husband and father, I must look at me, not my wife or my child. As a friend, I must look at me, not the other person. Is it my desire to have my own way? Is it my desire to have control? Am I the cause of the problem?
Second, am I willing to go the extra mile? Am I willing to walk in their shoes? As a parent, am I willing to go the extra mile with my child to try to understand their wants and needs? Am I willing to put myself in their place, in their time? As a husband, am I willing to walk the extra mile to put the salve on the sore I caused? Perhaps my attitude is, “get over it and move on.”
Third, am I willing to practice the Golden Rule? It is not, “do unto others before they do unto you.” It is, “whatever you want men to do unto you, do also unto them.” How would that affect the husband-wife relationship? The parent-child relationship? The friend-to-friend relationships?
Fourth and finally, am I being transformed into the image of Christ? If I am growing to be like Him no matter the relationship, that relationship will be better because I am in it.
Relationships are precious and should be cherished. They take years to build but can be damaged in the blink of an eye.