Summary: Using that acrostic, RELATE, we deal with six essential actions for establishing and maintaining healthy relationships.
Series: Cultivating Healthy Relationship #1
On your table this morning is an outline of our message entitled simply, RELATE. Using that acrostic we are going to deal with six essential actions for establishing and maintaining healthy relationships. Most of us are very aware of how essential relationships are to our success in life and our personal happiness and fulfillment.  God designed us for relationship—relationship with Him and relationship with one another. The Bible is a book about how to have a healthy relationship with God and how to have healthy relationships with other people. There is no better manual on living in relationship with others than this best seller that I hold in my hand. We will certainly not exhaust the subject this morning. But the six principles we are going to discuss are some of the most important keys to the relationships God wants us to enjoy.
Listen as Doug introduces our first point with a portion of hit song from the late ‘60s.
---- Play about 20 or 30 seconds of “Respect” by Aretha Franklin published by Atlantic Records (ideally end as the word is spelled out in the song).
Why was that song so popular, aside from the fact that it has a cool beat? Shortly after that a man named, Roger Dangerfield made millions off of one line, “I don’t get any respect.” Why, because that echoes a cry that is in every human heart. Everybody needs to feel respected. Every relationship depends upon the giving and receiving
[R]ESPECT : 1 Peter 2:17 tells us to, “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.”
What does it mean to show proper respect to someone? What does it mean to honor another person? It means we place proper value on the worth of that individual. In other contexts the word here commanding us to “show proper respect” or “honor” is sometimes translated “set a price”. Acts 4:34 and Acts 19:19 are a couple of examples of that.
If we are to enjoy healthy relationships with people we have to value people the way the Lord values them. We have to see them through the Lord’s eyes. We have to remember the value that God has set on that soul—the shed blood of Jesus Christ. We have to remember that each soul is so valuable in God’s eyes that He gave His Son for that person’s redemption. When we are aggravated at someone we need to place that soul on God’s scale and count the cost already paid. When we are tempted to write somebody off as not worth the trouble, we do well to pause and consider the price God has paid for that soul. When we’re having a conflict with someone it’s a good idea to think about that person in those terms. Every human being is extremely important to God.
The way we view people is foundational to having the right relationship with them. If we genuinely value them they will discern that and respond well. If we discount them as unimportant, if we treat them disrespectfully we will experience all kinds of relational conflicts. The fastest way I know to get into conflict with anybody is to humiliate that person. You can get almost anybody to fight with you over that.
Scripturally the most important relational issue between a husband and wife is the giving of proper honor to one another. Ephesians 5 commands the husband to cherish his wife and commands the wife to respect her husband. The kind of expression of honor a wife needs is different than the expression of honor a husband needs. But the essential element in both cases is respect. And if there is trouble in the marriage you can be pretty sure this is part of the problem. By the way, it is also part of the solution. It’s amazing how people will come around in a relationship when we begin to show respect for who they are.
We have all kinds of examples in the Bible as to how we are to humbly relate to other people. Think about the way Abigail approached David in 1 Samuel 25. Think about the way Esther approached King Xerxes (Ahasuerus). Listen to the way Daniel addressed King Nebuchadnezzar in Dan 2:37, “You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory.” Daniel didn’t approach the man with those words because he was a kiss up. He wasn’t just flattering him. Everything he said was true. God had given Nebuchadnezzar that place of honor and Daniel was recognizing it. Now what kind of person was Nebuchadnezzar at that time? He was a ruthless, cruel dictator. Daniel eventually led him to the Lord. But that evangelism began with a show of genuine and proper respect.