Summary: If the two most important commandments are to love God and love people, then it is essential that we learn to build healthy relationships with one another. Here are some keys to do that.
RELATIONSHIPS #2 – 10 KEYS TO BUILDING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
• Last week started series on relationships & talked about their value. Where do we learn about building healthy relationships? Let’s go to the expert – God!
KEY TEXT: “Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matt. 22:37-39).
• The two most important things in life are: Love God and love people.
• Therefore it is essential that we learn how we can build healthy relationships.
ILLUSTRATION: “If the devil had his own Beatitudes”
• Blessed are the troublemakers, they shall be called my children.
• Blessed are the complainers, I’m all ears for them.
• Blessed are those who gossip, for they shall cause strife and division – that pleases me.
• Blessed are those who are easily offended, for they shall soon get angry and quit.
• Blessed is he who professes to love God but hates his brother and sister, for they shall be with me forever.
THE STORY OF NEHEMIAH – BUILDING BROKEN WALLS:
“1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, 2 that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, "The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire." 4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:1-4).
“1 And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. 2 Therefore the king said to me, "Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart." So I became dreadfully afraid, 3 and said to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?" 4 Then the king said to me, "What do you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.” (Nehemiah 2:1-5).’
Nehemiah is a prophetic picture of how we can build strong relationships:
“Then I said to them, "You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.” (Nehemiah 2:17).
When we decide to build healthy relationships, the enemy will oppose us:
“1 But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. 2 And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish--stones that are burned?" 3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, "Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall.” (Nehemiah 4:1-3).
• What was Nehemiah’s response? To PRAY! The first thing we should do if we want healthy relationships is to pray and ask for God’s help.
10 KEYS TO BUILDING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS:
1. Start with yourself. (Matthew 22:39 – love your neighbour as yourself). We can only love others to the degree that we love ourselves, and we only love ourselves to the degree that we know the love of God.
2. Be faithful. (Prov. 17:17 – a friend loves at all times). We need to love our friends even when they are being unlovable, for it is then that they need our friendship the most.
3. Speak only encouraging words. (Prov. 18:21 “the power of death and life are in the tongue” & Eph. 4:29). You’ve heard the rhyme, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." That’s not true. Words can wound greater than sticks and stones!