Mark spoke this morning on the ‘bible rules of relationships’ strategies’, talking about how to get on with people, how to resolve problems in relationships and how we should interact with people. Relationships require work and effort, but with the help of various Scriptures, we were reminded of strategies for making relationships more successful, be it with family members, friends, colleagues or neighbours.

Ephesians 4:1-3
reminds us to be humble, gentle and patient, bearing with each other in love. We are to ‘make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace’.

Romans 12:3-5 reminds us of the diversity of the body of Christ. We are all different members, but we all belong to one body. No one is better than anyone else; we are all needed and loved by God. We are not, however, all the same. Understanding our role and giftings is important; valuing other people, however different they may be to us, equally important.

Gal 6:2 reminds us to carry each other’s burdens, thereby fulfilling the law of Christ. We need to look around and see who needs help and be willing to offer that help; it’s like a circular flow diagram, for as we help somebody, that releases them from a burden and enables them to move on to help someone else and so the circle continues.

James 3:18
tells us that ‘peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.’ How you treat other people is how they will largely treat you; the ‘Golden Rule’ often applies to relationships. If we consistently work for peace in relationships, we will reap good things.

Matt 20:26-28 reminds us that we live in an ‘upside down’ kingdom where the first shall be last and the greatest among us is the one who has learned to serve. Jesus is our great example in this, for the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.

1 Pet 1:22 tells us simply to ‘love one another deeply from the heart’. 1 Corinthians 13 gives us the true definition of what love is. Love needs to be the hallmark of every Christian relationship.

Luke 6:41-42 talks about the speck of dust in our brother’s eye and the plank in our own… vivid imagery which reminds us we can either be fault-finders or fault-forgivers. Can we look past the planks in our own eyes and past the specks in our brothers’ eyes and actually see God at work in human lives? Can we accept each other as ‘works in progress’? Only God can ultimately change the human heart, so we have to learn to forgive and to accept if we are to thrive in good relationships.

Col 3:15-17 tells us to let the peace of God rule in our hearts. We are to be thankful people and to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly as we seek to encourage each other in spiritual things. Whatever we do – and that word encompasses everything! – we are to do it in the name of the Lord, giving thanks to Him.