Every person wants to have strong, healthy relationships. Fortunately, God’s word shows us what relationships should look like.
1. Love – Solid relationships are characterized by love more than anything else. Love itself is one of the defining characteristics of Christians! When we operate out of love, we are able to work through struggles and difficulties. We can forgive and extend mercy to each other. Every characteristic of healthy relationships flow out of love.
2. Humility – When we’re humble, we’re willing to listen to the opinions and ideas of others. We don’t treat people in a condescending manner and are willing to admit when we’re wrong. Humble individuals think rightly about themselves. They recognize the gifts that God has given us without elevating ourselves over others.
3. Service – Jesus Himself is our model of service. When He came to Earth, He didn’t demand that others serve Him. He served others. The world believes that the way to greatness is to claw your way to the top and step over anyone in the way. Jesus said the opposite is true.
4. Patience – People make mistakes. We all have our struggles and difficulties. If we want to have meaningful relationships, we must be patient with one another.
5. Acceptance – Acceptance doesn’t mean saying that everything is okay. Acceptance is letting go. God has accepted us into His family. We are no longer excluded from His presence. We can come freely, knowing that God loves us.
6. Affection – Affection is a visible demonstration of love, and it can take all sorts of forms. Giving gifts, hugging, and serving are all forms of affection. Think of how Jesus showed affection. He broke bread, He washed the feet of disciples, He healed the sick. He demonstrated his love for people.
7. Forgiveness – We’ve had all our sins forgiven by God. If we’ve received such forgiveness, we should extend that forgiveness to others. When we refuse to forgive, bitterness is the result. We hold grudges, refusing to be gracious to those who have wronged us. This is hurtful to God and destroys relationships. Holding a grudge is like drinking rat poison and expecting the rat to die. Forgiveness can be difficult. It doesn’t happen overnight. But God can help you move toward forgiveness.
Relationships are hard work. By abiding by the example shown by God, you can reach true relational fitness.