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Fighting for Relationship

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Being in relationship with others is hard. We are told the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:35), but some people are really difficult to love. Are these relationships worth fighting for? And if so, how do we fight for them and not in them?

God fought for relationship with us by laying down His life for us. Sin separated us from Him, and so Jesus came to reconcile us to God by doing the impossible. Loving one’s neighbor means doing likewise, laying down my life for another. Sometimes laying down my life means sharing the truth in love. Sometimes it requires more faith to humbly state an opinion than be silent, because when I am silent, then I fester. And when I fester, then bitterness, anger, envy or strife can grow. This is not godly fruit. You cannot move forward in your walk with God until you deal with these heart issues. So moving forward in our relationship with God often means moving forward in our relationships with others, with more transparency, more love, more humility, and more selflessness.

However, when you share the truth in love, the other person still may not respond well. There still may be arguments and difficulty. But God isn’t asking you to control the other person’s response to the truth you share. He’s asking you to live in faith, to share in faith. The other person’s response is their responsibility before God. Yours is to obey.

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