Summary: Let's talk about these 6 relationships killers (Material adapted from Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp's book, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, Chapter 4 Sin, pgs. 29- 40; and Chapter 8 Obstacles, pgs. 77-90)
Larry Crabb said in his book called The Safest Place on Earth- “The difference between spiritual and unspiritual community is not whether conflict exists, but is rather in our attitude toward it and our approach to handling it. When conflict is seen as an opportunity to draw more fully on spiritual resources, we have the makings of spiritual community.”
This mornings sermon was about how to handle conflict in a constructive manner. However, I think we are missing something here that needs to be talked about. What causes so many fights and quarrels? James asks the same question, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” James 4:1, NIV. So many times we point the finger at others when really the problem is within us.
The apostle Paul talked about this: “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” Romans 7:21-25, NIV. Paul uses 4 terms to describe his experience:
1. The term law explains a principle at work within all of us. Law fails to set us free from sin, the law helps us to see sin in our lives. “What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead.” Romans 7:7, 8, NIV. This principle is like gravity; we can’t choose to be free from sin’s influence by the law. Sin takes the law and enslaves us.
2. The term war (vs. 23) illustrates the ever present struggle going on within us. This inner conflict, between a desire to do what is right and the power of sin is at work within us.
3. The term prisoner (Vs. 23) describes our experience. Have we ever wanted to do the right thing, but instead we were pulled into sin? Say to ourselves, “I can’t believe I did that again!” This is what it feels like to be a prisoner. A prisoner has lost his freedom.
4. The word rescue (vs. 24) is a dramatic word that is often overlooked. In light of the 3 previous terms this word should shine brightly. When we need rescue it means we are hopeless without any help.
These 4 words means that our biggest problem is inside us and we can’t fix it on our own. Paul’s evaluation of the struggle with sin is sobering, as this points out its impact on our relationships. Sin affects us in 6 basic ways. Hint, these are all focused on the “self.”
Thesis: Let’s talk about these 6 relationship killers
1. Self centeredness
When we reject God, we create a void that cannot remain empty. That void is filled with ourselves. The main idea is, “What is best for me?” Relationships are about being other centered, the self centeredness of sin will sabotage our friendships.
People who are self centered desire attention and approval. They fear rejection and not being recognized and affirmed. They are often anxious and needy.
2. Self rule
When God’s wise rule over us is replaced with self rule, other people become our subjects. We expect them to do our bidding and bow to our control. People who desire self rule have a need to be right and in control. They fear being seen as wrong, being dependent upon others. They are often angry.
3. Self sufficiency
When we reject God, we believe the delusion that we are not dependent on anybody or anything. In moving away from each other, we move away from one of God's principal means of providing for us. If we don't see that we are dependent upon god, it is unlikely that we will be humbly dependent on others. Relationships are best built upon godly, mutual dependence. The redemptive give and take God uses to show his love for us is missing when independence rules. People who desire self sufficiency have a need for independence and time alone. They fear the dependence and neediness of others They are often cold and distant.