Summary: Three clear precepts for repairing relationships.
We’re in the series "Recession-Proof Relationships." Today we’re going to consider "Relationship Repair -Mending the Messes We Make."
We all make mistakes in relationships. We all mess up. We mess up in our friendships, we mess up before marriage, during marriage, in parenting, in church relationships, with our neighbors, on the job.
But do you realize that it is NOT messing up that destroys our relationships? It is failing to handle oour missteps so that our relationships can grow stronger and deeper that destroys them!
Good, solid relationships are not ones where we’ve never sinned against one another. That’s impossible!
Good relationships come from how we handle our failures. How do we deal with one another when we sin?
Strong marriages, good parent-child relationships, happy church families, productive work environments - are all built on people properly handling one another’s mess-ups!
We’re human, so we’re all going to fail. We’re going to fail in our relationships. But what are we going to do with those failures? Even in the church? What do we do when we fail one another or when someone in the body of Christ has a relationship failure? Sadly, quite often the church shoots their wounded. I’m being plain spoken but we need this. What do we do when a marriage in the church family is on the skids? What do we do when a teen or young adult messes up? What do we do when someone has an affair? How do we mend our messes even as a church family?
We need to know what to do, so that’s why we’re going to talk today about "Relationship Repair, Mending the Messes We Make."
We’re not giving attention to this so that we can excuse our sin, but so that we can grow from the mistakes we’ve made. Repairing relationship mess-ups isn’t about getting away with stuff. It’s about doing the right thing once we’ve messed up. Not sweeping our mess-ups under the rug or ignoring them and hoping that the results of our mess-ups will somehow magically disappear. They won’t go away on their own. We’ve got to be proactive when we fail one another in our relationships.
We talked several weeks ago about how we need authenticity in our relationships, about how that is the foundation of good relationships. That never changes. So, even though we do mess up in our relationships, we’re not saying that messing up is something we take lightly. It’s very serious. But the point is - we don’t have to give up on relationships simply because we’ve messed up.
This is one of many good news threads in the Bible! God allows for and encourages restoration and repair in our relationships! He doesn’t want us to be miserable. He wants us to have joy and peace in life - amazingly, He wants this for us even after we’ve messed up! This is part of God’s amazing grace and what we’re considering today!
Our need and goal is to know HOW to repair our relationships so that they are better relationships.
We’re going to use a seldom-mentioned story in the book of Genesis to discover Three Precepts of Relationship Repair. This is a story about a King named Abimelech and the famous man of faith, Abraham.
22 Then Abimelech came with Phicol, the commander of his army, and said to Abraham, "God is with you in everything you do.23 So make a promise to me here before God that you will be fair with me and my children and my descendants. Be kind to me and to this land where you have lived as a stranger; as kind as I have been to you." 24 And Abraham said, "I promise."
25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelech about Abimelech’s servants who had seized a well of water. 26 But Abimelech said, "I don’t know who did this. You never told me about this before today." 27 Then Abraham gave Abimelech some sheep and cattle, and they made an agreement.28 Abraham also put seven female lambs in front of Abimelech. 29 Abimelech asked Abraham, "Why did you put these seven female lambs by themselves?" 30 Abraham answered, "Accept these lambs from me to prove that you believe I dug this well." 31 So that place was called Beersheba because they made a promise to each other there. Genesis 21:22-31 (NCV)
Abimelech was a Philistine king who lived in the city of Gerar. You might remember him because, before the conversation we just read, when Abraham first arrived in Abimelech’s area, Abe told a bodacious lie! He spread it around that Sarah was his sister instead of his wife. He was afraid that if they knew Sarah was his wife they would kill him in order to take her away because she was a beautiful woman and he was outnumbered. When King Abimelech heard that Sarah was not married he decided to take her to be his wife.