Summary: It is easier to slip into our post-modern patterns of relating rather than move toward involvement over isolation, longing for genuineness over guardedness. The only salvation today is Solomon’s wise counsel on relating: “Two are better than one, because

25Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdeline. 26When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” 27and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25-27)

9Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 11Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm lone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

The Seattle Super Sonics started the season with a record of 8-2. Now, it was the first week of February and the trade deadline was encroaching on a franchise that had fallen from grace. They had slipped to the second worst team in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference at nine games below five hundred. Instead of talking about the play-offs in May and June, they were now hoping for a lottery pick. This is when the worst teams of the past season come together and select the top players for the next year’s draft through a lottery.

Hours before the deadline, the Seattle Super Sonics front office traded the most famous and popular player in the history of the Seattle Super Sonics. Called “the glove” for his tenacious defense, Gary Payton was a nine-time All-Star. Now he was en-route to be reunited with his former coach, George Karl of the Milwaukee Bucks. The day after the trade a local newspaper ran this story: “Payton, Mason Spend Trade Night Together.”

Dazed by Thursday’s unexpected trade to the Milwaukee Bucks, Desmond Mason felt the need to talk. So late in the afternoon, he and his wife, Andrea drove over to Gary Payton’s Eastside home where they ended up staying for dinner and conversation.

The two families “had the opportunity to just kind of hang out together and console each other,” he said. “It was really good. It helped me a lot. I am sure that it helped Gary, but it helped me get through it.” (1)

A surprise trade for a young NBA superstar, Desmond needed support from a veteran player. One who had been in the trenches; someone who could help the young gun get through his first trade. Oh, yeah, this was Payton’s first trade. As the scripture says, “two are better than one.”

The news media reporting the Sonics trade of Gary Payton for Ray Allen of the Bucks reinforces today’s message: you were created by God to be in relationship. God wants us to move from isolation to involvement. We are called to live in relationship not isolation. Take off the mask. Relate. Open up. Be real.

Removing The Debris Of Unhealthy Relationships

One of the most touching, tender, and teachable moments in Scripture is about how to form healthy relationships. It is from the third of the Savior’s seven sayings from the cross. God created you to experience life together with others. If there was ever a topic that needs a fresh look, a new discovery, or a return to authentic living it is - Committing to Meaningful and Lasting Relationships.

You were not only created by God to live and last forever, you were created by God to love and laugh together. The enemy of our soul wants to destroy that wonderful experience through unhealthy fellowship patterns that will rob us of vital relational ingredients.

Fresh vegetables are the best. The natural ingredients are preserved as we eat them fresh. The minute we cook them, some of the nutritional value is lost. Relationships get over-cooked and loose their relational value when unhealthy patterns are present. I just happen to believe that you are too valuable to lose in a world trapped by unhealthy relationship patterns. Let me suggest that you avoid the slippery slope of these three types of relationships.

1. The Superficial Person - This person may be long on love, but they are short on openness. They flit from relationship to relationship, building community with people that are about an inch deep. They seldom share their hurts, reveal their mistakes, or rarer yet, ask for help and prayer. The superficial person is big on relationship, but little on openness. Genuine relationships are not superficial. They get below the waterline of pretending, politicking and silly politeness.

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another. (1 John 1:7 NIV)

But if we walk in the light, God Himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another. (1 John 1:7 MSG)

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