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May 30, 2018

Relationship Builder: Part 1

“… the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared.”  Titus 3:4 (NASB) 

To be a people builder, I must learn how to be a relationship builder.  God created us for relationships, but sin has corrupted our connections with others, leaving our most important relationships often broken and shattered.  If God created us for relationships, He is the best model for building those relationships.  In fact, His example offers hope to even rebuild broken relationships.  How does God build relationships?

God begins with understanding.  Because we’ve all sinned and none of us are perfect, we all have innate weaknesses.  God is able to build relationships with us because He understands our weaknesses.  That’s huge!  In Hebrews 4:15-16, the Bible says,

“This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses since He had the same temptations we do, though He never once gave way to them and sinned.  So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive His mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need.” 

If you or I desire to really build relationships, we must understand the weaknesses of others and love them despite those weaknesses.  That kind of love motivates us to change.  It is really the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.  In Romans 2:4, the Bible says,

“Do you have contempt for God, who is very kind to you, puts up with you, and deals patiently with you?  Don’t you realize that it is God’s kindness that is trying to lead you to Him and change the way you think and act?” 

Understanding someone’s weaknesses enables us to practice acceptance even when we may not approve of their behavior.  We choose to love them.  God accepts us just the way we are, but He loves us too much to leave us that way.  His acceptance and love motivate us to change.  When you are genuinely loved, you want to love in return.  Your heart is filled with gratitude for the grace and acceptance you’ve received.  That’s why bragging works better than nagging!  Nagging never works.  It just tears down relationships.  When has nagging ever worked for you?

If you want to be a relationship builder, ask yourself how well you understand the weaknesses of others? Proverbs teaches us:

Hatred stirs up trouble; love overlooks the wrongs that others do.” Proverbs 10:12 (CEV)

Instead of nagging them, look for ways to encourage the strengths they have.  Build them up.  Understanding is the first step toward building relationships.  When there is understanding, you earn the right to take the next step of kindness God takes in our lives that builds a deep and intimate relationship. We’ll look at that step tomorrow.