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Summary: 3rd Week of 40 Days of Community adapted from sermon provided by Purpose Driven Ministries

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We were created for community. We’re wired for relationships. We’re made to go through life together with others.

The Bible says this, the top verse on your outline, Romans 12:5, “Christ makes us one body and individuals who are connected to each other.” Will you circle that word “connected”?

You are connected to the person sitting next to. Now, you may be connected physically to the person sitting next to you, since most of us sit together with our families, but you are also connected spiritually if you are part of the family of God.

We are all connected in some way to others.

Here’s the problem: It’s easy to get disconnected in relationships. Would you agree with that? It’s very easy to get disconnected from your children, from your parents, from your brothers and sisters, your friends, your family, your husband and wife if you’re married, your friends.

It’s easy to get disconnected in our relationships with each other.

And so, today we’re going to look at what causes that disconnect. Why do relationships fall apart? Why do relationships go bad? What destroys relationships and how do you rebuild?

How can we have healthy relationships?

Unfortunately, we’re not taught how to have healthy relationships. Do you remember taking a class on this in school? Yet, that’s an important lesson to learn in life, wouldn’t you agree?

And I doubt that you’ve learned it from your parents, nor at church.

So, today, we’re going to look at how to have healthy relationships. We will see what destroys relationships, and what builds them. Learning how to have healthy relationships has so many applications in so many areas of your life...

You can apply it with your marriage if you’re married...

your family...your friends...in your work...in your small group...

We will discover this morning, that every relational problem comes down to one of 4 negative attitudes. Every problem you’ve had in a relationship comes as a result of one these problems. They are the enemies of community and healthy relationships.

Ready for #1?

1. SELFISHNESS destroys relationships

Selfishness is the #1 cause of arguments, the #1 cause of divorce, the #1 cause of war. Look at James 4:1-2, “What causes fights and quarrels, don’t they come from your desires that battle within you. You want something but you don’t get it.”

Now it’s very easy for selfishness to creep into a relationship.

You know when you start a relationship, you work real hard at being selfless or being unselfish. Like when you start out dating someone, “Oh here, please, you go first.” Right?

And you are very unselfish at the start of a relationship,

but then as time goes on, selfishness begins to creep in.

Would you agree we put more energy into starting relationships than into maintaining relationships?

Have you heard about the five stages of a married cold. [Excerpted from "The Seven Stages of a Married Cold", from Staying Close by Dennis & Barbara Rainey, Word Publishing, 1989] The first year: "Baby darling, I’m worried about that sniffle. So I’ve called the paramedics to rush you to the UCLA 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 the Quick Care, get some medicine, I’ll watch the kids." [You know, very magnanimous]

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 in the other room while this show is on? You sound like a barking dog.”

Reminds me of the guy who said, “You know, in the first year of marriage, my wife used to bring me my slippers and the dog came barking. Now it’s just the opposite!”

We all know that selfishness destroys a relationship, don’t we?

We know this. So why don’t we change?

Or, better yet, why can’t we change?

Why can’t we be more unselfish?

Well there are a couple of reasons:

First, it is natural. It is human nature to be selfish.

I don’t think about you most of the time.

I think about me, my needs, my interests, my hurts...

How do I look? How do I feel? Who’s hurt me?

And you don’t think about me, you think about yourself more than anybody else.

It’s natural to be selfish, isn’t it?

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