Summary: Our goal as a congregation is to build healthy relationships so together we can make a greater impact upon our surrounding community.
Barriers and Antidotes to Healthy Relationships
Romans 12:5 “Christ makes us one body and individuals who are connected to each other.” (God’s Word Translation)
For the past month we have been involved in “40 Days of Community.” The goal of our study has been to build healthy relationships in order to deepen the community life in our church family so together we can make a greater impact upon our surrounding community.
We have learned that we fellowship better together, we grow better together, we serve better together, we worship better together and we reach out better together.
Whether you are single, married, divorced, have a nuclear or a blended family you need to build healthy relationships. I want to present several barriers to building healthy relationships and give a key factor in breaking through each barrier.
You will see in your notes on the back flap of the worship folder the four barriers and four attitudes that build relationships.
The first barrier to building healthy relationships is self-centeredness.
I. The answer to Self-centered attitudes
James 4:1-2 – “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.”
James is talking about self-centeredness when he wrote: “You want something, but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight.” Self-centered and selfish desires seem to be inborn in children. Children often verbalize – “I want what I want, when I want it.” It’s human nature to be selfish.
In the October 27th Daily Bread Elisa Morgan, president of MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) gives insight into a child’s world – Toddler’s Creed
If I want it, it’s mine. If I give it to you and change my mind later, it’s mine.
If I can take it away from you, it’s mine.
If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
If it’s mine, it will never belong to anyone else, no matter what.
If we are building something together, all the pieces are mine.
If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
Many relationships start out okay but over time selfish attitudes can develop.
Dennis & Barbara Rainey in their book Staying Close suggest there are several stages in marriage.
The first year: “Baby darling, I’m worried about that sniffle. So I’ve called the paramedics to rush you to the Hospital for a checkup and a week of rest. And I know you don’t like hospital food, so I’m having gourmet meals brought in for you.” That’s the first year.
Second year of a marriage: “Sweetheart, I don’t like the sound of that cough. I’ve arranged for Dr. Knotts to make a house call. Let me tuck you in bed.”
Third year of a marriage: “You look like you’ve got a fever. Why don’t you drive yourself over to Walgreens, get some medicine, I’ll watch the kids.” You know, very caring.
Fourth year: “Look, be sensible. After you’ve fed and bathed the kids, washed the dishes, you really ought to go to bed.”
Fifth year: “For Pete’s sake, do you have to cough so loud? I can’t hear the TV. Would you mind going into the other room while this show is on? You sound like a barking dog.” One guy said, “You know, in the first year of marriage, my wife used to bring me my slippers and the dog came barking. Now my dog brings me slippers.”
Selfish attitudes torpedo healthy family relationships.
I read a story this week that illustrates the consequences of selfish attitudes.
A mouse looked through a crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife opening a package; what food might it contain? He was aghast to discover that it was a mousetrap! Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning, "There is a mouse trap in the house, there is a mouse trap in the house." The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell you this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me; I can’t be bothered."
The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mouse trap in the house."
"I am so very sorry Mr. Mouse," sympathized the pig, "but there is nothing I can think of to do about it. Surely someone else will step in to help."
The mouse turned to the cow, who replied, "Like wow, Mr. Mouse, a mouse trap; am I in grave danger, Duh?" So the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone.