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February 20, 2023

Ep.1269: How Strong Are My Relationships? (Part II)

Practical steps to build better family and close friends

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What are the common areas of weakness in our family and close friend relationships?

What if we feel we are being taken advantage of in our relationships?

How can we contribute to our relationships when the other person is distant or not interested?

Theme Scripture: Romans 12:10

In Part I, we opened the door to talking about strong and healthy relationships by focusing on marriage. We looked at what it is built upon, what makes it work, what hinders it and how to stay with it when challenges arise. We discovered a powerful scriptural pattern for success that can be traced to the simple descriptions of what selfless love is and is not in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Our next set of relationships will focus on our families and closest friends. In many ways, these relationships are similar to the marriage relationship and what it stands for and therefore can be nurtured and healed with the same scriptural principles. God’s design in all of this is truly magnificent!

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Greek to English

There is such a difference between the English and Greek languages. In English, we talk about loving our family, loving our friends and loving selflessly by using the same word, "love." In Greek, these different types of love are expressed with specific and precise words. Greek defines love of family and friends with specific words that are all based on a fraternal relationship. The Greek word for "selfless love" is entirely different and expresses a love and caring that gives without a need to receive. Understanding these differences in the meaning of love helps us to see the depth of the Bible’s instruction regarding our relationships.

Family and close friend relationships are easy targets for frustrations and issues. Because we have such a close natural or chosen connection with these individuals, we are easily liable to fall into misunderstanding and disagreement. Fortunately, the Bible gives us several ways to approach these challenges. One basic piece of scriptural guidance is to simply listen to Jesus. This can come across as almost too basic because we are always supposed to listen to Jesus, so let’s get specific.

In Matthew 7, Jesus talked about judging others.

His guidance was unmistakable as he stated it in an exaggerated example. To paraphrase, he instructed us to remove the log out of our own eye before we try and remove the speck of sawdust out of someone else’s eye. This is a simple lesson that teaches us to right our own attitude and perspective before approaching those things in someone we care about. Being willing to do this shows that we truly care for and respect those in our lives who may be having issues.

This is just one of many practical ways the Bible helps us to feed and nurture our family and close friend relationships. Check out our February 20, 2023 podcast, “How Strong Are My Relationships? (Part II)” Further steps and guidance include a deeper grasp of the listening process and what to do after we listen. We also delve into the profound realization of how to connect brotherly and family love with the selfless love that Jesus taught us. Learning to put these things together is learning to have stronger family and friend relationships. What are we waiting for?



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