May 31, 2018

Relationship Builder: Part2

“Good people may punish me and rebuke me in kindness.”  Psalm 141:5a (GNT) 

Understanding is the first step toward building relationships.  God understands my weaknesses and loves me just as I am, but He loves me too much to leave me that way!  Because God understands my weaknesses, He is being kind when He speaks the truth in love to correct me. Relationship builders understand the difference between acceptance and approval.  In kindness, they can speak the truth in love even when the words may be painful to hear.  Do you have people like that in your life?  Are there those who love you so much that they are willing to risk confronting you in love when your life begins to drift toward self-destructive behavior?  These are people who have your best interest at heart with no personal or hidden agenda.  They genuinely care for you.  The Psalmist put it like this,

“Good people may punish me and rebuke me in kindness.”  Psalm 141:5a (GNT)

Kindness is not just being nice and avoiding the difficult conversations for fear of hurting your feelings.  Kindness is caring enough to confront and risk the relationship for the benefit of the other person.  God’s Word was given to correct us when we are wrong and lead us to do what is right and pleasing to Him.  His desire is to bless us just as a loving parent longs to bless a child.  When our lives are aligned with His will, we enjoy the benefits of those blessings and peace with God.  Like a car that hits too many bumps, though, we can find our lives out of alignment.  Left alone, the problem just gets worse.  It’s kindness when someone steps into our lives with loving correction and speaks the truth.  The Bible says in Proverbs 24:26 (GNT)

“An honest answer is a sign of true friendship.”  

A true friend will tell you the truth, not just what you want to hear.  That’s kindness.  That’s what God does.  The Bible tells us that it’s the kindness of God that leads us to Him and changes the way we think and act in Romans 2:4. He doesn’t yell and scream at us to repent! It’s not an angry in your face turn or burn sort of sermon.  In kindness, He lovingly rebukes the behavior in us that He knows will forfeit His blessing and lead to life of brokenness.

You can see this repeatedly among the giants of faith in Scripture.  They were ordinary men and women (like you and me) that had faults and flaws (just like us), and the Bible doesn’t conceal their failures.  In fact, it recorded them to encourage us.  If God could use them and they could change, so can we!  This speaks to the integrity of Scripture as well!  Where there is no truth, there can be no trust.  Do you trust God enough to let Him speak the truth in your life?  If may sting at times like a rebuke.  It may feel like punishment.  But, God is not condemning you.  In kindness, He is correcting you to enjoy the depth of His love and blessing.

Understanding and kindness are the first two steps toward being a relationship builder.  Tomorrow, we’ll look at the third step.