Right Relationships with Others #2

 


Right Relationships with Others #2

 1 John 2:29 (MSG)

Once you're convinced that he is right and righteous, you'll recognize that all who practice righteousness are God's true children.

 From our last session, you learned that everything rises and falls on relationships.  The four key relationships of life are the relationship you have with God, Others, Self, and the Earth. You know that the first relationship you need to be righted is your relationship with God.  Because of the sacrifice Jesus made, you can choose to be reconciled to God: Acknowledge, Believe, Commit, and Ask.  Once reconciled to God you are empowered to set all your other relationships right.  I encourage you to get right with God. 

 Last time you were introduced to what a righteous relationship looks like.  There was a list of 30 characteristics of what a relationship is to look like.  We discovered that these types of relationships just don’t happen.  You have to want to create such a relationship.  You create them intentionally.  You prepare yourself for these kinds of friends by being one already.  Don’t worry if you are not, you’ll grow into these behaviors as you mature in the faith.  That’s what Growing Deep, Growing Up, and Producing Fruit is all about.  If you would like to review those teachings the link to the Youtube video online [(44) Practice Growing Deep a - YouTube ].  On our website hbcc.life use the table of contents scroll down and you will find Grow Deep [Grow Deep Part 1: The Flame of Experience - Are You Ready? (hbcc.life) ].  To enjoy right relationships you need to be a lover.

 Finally, through the previous teaching, we learned that righteous relationships require care and maintenance.  “All relationships slowly deflate in strength and regularly need adjusting” ( Van Epp & De Gance, Endgame: The Church’s Strategic Move To Save Faith and Family in America, p124.).  With today’s teaching, we begin examining 6 key relational bonds that require adjusting:  Knowing, Trust, Relying, Commitment, Touch,[ and Time ] ( Van Epp & De Gance, Endgame: The Church’s Strategic Move To Save Faith and Family in America, p131.). 

 Let’s start with time.  Time is the common denominator of the other 5 relational components.  Relationships need time to grow.  I know of an unfortunate situation where singles meet during a church mission trip.  They “fell in love” on the two-week trip and got married soon after.  Here’s a warning, sometimes love at first sight ends in divorce at first fight.  This couple needed time to spend with one another, seeing each other in the various situations and circumstances of life to verify that what you see is what you get.  Here’s a rule of relationships, you need to regularly interact with someone over all four seasons, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter to build the kind of bonding you are spiritually wired for.  A relationship starts in an instant but bonding takes time.  You usually don’t see a person’s flaws at first, it's only time that reveals if a lasting bond will occur. 

 There is a difference between knowing about someone and knowing them personally.  Wikipedia will give you plenty of information about someone. Knowing about someone is an important first step in getting to know them personally.  But when you know a person personally you know their motives, you know their likes and dislikes, you know what they are passionate about, and you know what to expect from them.  Getting to know someone takes experiencing life together.  Otherwise, it’s all superficial encounters where each of us has our best selves on public display.  The public persona of Robin Williams hid a human being suffering from depression.  You would not know his inner demon unless you were close to this comedic genius, having spent time being with him.  As you do life together you see how a person handles victories and defeats, promotion and setbacks, elation and heartbreak.  You experientially know someone.  You see the character and you want to know the soul.

 It takes time to know someone.  As you gain ideas of who this person is and what they are all about, over time, you learn to trust each other.  As their behaviors align with your ideas of them we deem them trustworthy.  Trust is earned.  Trust creates a sense of “security, confidence, and safety” in the relationship.  (Endgame p. 135). When you trust someone you know that your heart is safe in their hands.  You know you can be you, no games, no posing, but rather you can be real and in being real vulnerable.  This kind of openness is hard-won because we have learned that vulnerability can get you hurt, so we are naturally cautious.  As trust grows, trust kills that kind of fear.  Confidences are not betrayed.  Manipulation does not occur.  Transparency becomes the norm.  Honesty becomes the norm.  Mutual respect becomes the norm. 

 Over time your knowledge and trust in the other convince you that this person can be relied on (Endgame p. 137.).  You learn that they will do what they say; that they have integrity.  You discover that you are for each other, and you can count on each other.  Steven Daniels in his book Weeds in the Garden of Love wrote:  “A good friend will help you move, but a true friend will help you move a body.”  Not only do you depend on them to help, you reckon they will be on time when it comes to bringing that help.  You know that your friend has your back, that they want the best for you, that they will support you in the face of adversity, you know that they will come through for you and you know that you will come through for them.  Mutual reliance occurs in righteous relationships.

 The fourth key in creating and maintaining a right relationship is commitment.  Commitment is about the value you put on your relationship (Endgame p. 138).   You decide if this relationship is worthy of the time investment and dedication to making it thrive (ibid.).  A commitment gives the relationship priority (ibid.).  The relationship is now important enough to both of you to willingly sacrifice your wants and desires to meet the need of your friend (Endgame p. 139).  With commitment, there is loyalty, and a determination to stick together through the good times and the bad.  Even when there is a personal conflict within the relationship it’s the loyalty of commitment that keeps you both in the game ironing out the problem.  You don’t give up on one another.  

 Key relational bond number five is touch or think of it as proximity (Endgame, p. 140).  We spend time together.  The hug, the high five, the kiss, and the handshake are all about proximity, about being physically close.  We normally don’t let strangers touch us.  Being bumped and jostled by strangers is annoying.  We welcome the touch of those we share an affinity with (Endgame p. 141).  Touch affirms the relationship we share.  Touch is about connection, being joined together, and a touch shared is about accepting one another.

 You know what a dimmer switch is, right?  Move the fader up and things get brighter, move the fader down and things get darker.  Let’s put five relational keys on fader switches.  In your bulletin and online you will see such a diagram.



(Endgame p. 131).

 

Push the fader all the way up and it’s the best it possibly can be.

 A 10 on the “know” fader would be like Psalm 139 

Psalms 139:1-4 (NIV)

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.

 A 10 on the “Trust” fader would be like Psalm 89:33 

Psalms 89:33 (NIV)

I will not take my love from him,  nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.

 A 10 on the “Rely” fader would be like Isaiah 41:13 

Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)

For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

 A 10 on the “Commitment” fader would be like John 15:13 (NIV) 

John 15:13 (NIV)

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

 

A ten on the “Touch” fader would be like Luke 15:19

 Luke 15:20 (NIV)

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

 Those examples are extremely high tens, but you get the idea. Think of someone.  How well do you know this person?  Do they rate a ten, a zero, or somewhere in between?  How much do you trust this person? How much do you rely on this person?  How committed are you to this person?  How comfortable are you with this person touching you?  Go ahead and move the faders.

 Creating and then growing right relationships begin with your fader in the “Safe Zone” (Endgame, p. 169).  “Know” will be the highest, then “Trust,” and so forth with “Touch” being the lowest.  Good relationships will start with the Know fader being a one and over time move on up the scale towards a ten.  All the other faders will naturally be lower.  This makes logical sense.  As you begin to know someone better, you decide if you can trust them or not, then based on your level of trust you can decide if you can rely on this person.  If the first three faders are high enough you can commit to the relationship.  Touch validates the other four faders. 

 The idea is not to “allow the level of one relationship bond to exceed any to its left on the diagram.” (Endgame, p. 143).  For example, if the diagram looks like this:


Know, Trust, Relay, and Commit are extremely low and Touch extremely high, this relationship most likely is headed for a bad ending.

 If Commitment is the highest then you’re in a one-sided relationship.  If Rely is the highest then you’re in a dependent relationship, if Trust is the highest you’re going to eventually get hurt.  Know can be the highest and all the other low with the Touch fader being “I wouldn’t spite on you if you were on fire.” 

In our teaching today we learned that over time five relationship bonds grow righteous relationships.  We begin with knowing someone, over time that knowledge allows us to trust this person.  Trust convinces us that our friend can be counted on, and relied on, to come through.  Multiple experiences of positive reliance make this a relationship you want to thrive in, there is a commitment to do so.  Touch is a method of validation of the relationship.  We know about the safe zone, the idea is that the bond to the left is more mature than the bond to the right.  

 You know have two huge tools.  You know the 30 characteristics of a righteous relationships and you know the 5 relational bonds that over time deepen the intimacy of a relationship.  Have you made the connection that righteous relationships are all about being a lover? 

 1 John 4:7-8 (MSG)

My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can't know him if you don't love.

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