Summary: This sermon demonstrates how poor communication on both parts, can destroy relationships. We must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

What Builds Relationships and What Destroys Them 40 Days of Community Part 3

October Joshua 22:1-15 James 1:18-25

Joshua|James 22|1:7|19-22|1:18|21

October 6th 2013

We are in week three of our series of 40 Days Of Building Community. In our first message we saw that we need each other just to help each other make it through life. Last week we saw that we need each other as partners, in order to take the message of Christ to the world. Today we are going to see how we can build positive relationships. Is there anybody here who is in a not so good of a relationship with another person, and you would like to have a better relationship with the person. It could be with a parent, a child, a co-worker, a church member, a neighbor or a boss.

When a relationship goes bad, how many of us assume it was because of the other person’s fault. If only they had of just listened to me in the first place. Let me tell you of a true store that happened with a family in our church. This father who loved his daughters very much and the daughters who loved their dad very much were playing having a good time in the basement. When they had stopped for a moment and was talking with each other, all of a sudden the iron fell off the ironing board entirely on its own, hit the floor and broke. They looked at each other and thought that was weird. It was spooky kind of weird. You know how when something like that happens you look at each other and just try to laugh it off to keep from getting scared. Well that’s what they did.

Even though the kids forgot it. The father did not. The father was thinking, “what if I had not have been down there when it happened”. I would have yelled at the girls from upstairs when I heard it break. I would have demanded an answer as to which of them broke it. Chances are both of them would have been put on punishment until one of them told the truth. I knew they had been playing around, so telling me that it just fell by itself would not have cut it. I know irons do not fall by themselves. I would have messed up my relationship with my daughters by trying to get one of them to confess to a lie that would have been acceptable to me.

One way to destroy a relationship is to try to force another person to admit to something that the person did not do. Quite often it’s not that the person didn’t do something, it is the motive we insist that the person had. Why did I not call you back. You say it was because I didn’t care. I say, it was because my battery was dead. Why is the dinner burned. You say, its because I was angry. I say, I lost track of the time? Why was the chores not done. You say, its because I am lazy. I say I was going to do them at 6, because I went to help somebody.

Part of our problem is that many times we want to believe we are psychic. We genuinely believe we can read somebody else’s mind. Have you ever said something like, “I know what you’re thinking.” “I know exactly why you did that.” “I know how your mind works.”

Let me ask you something, If a mother tells her five year old son John, not to eat the cupcake on the table and she comes back and the cupcake is gone, why did John eat the cupcake. 1) John is a bad kid and never listens to anybody. 2) John was hungry, and his mother usually lets him eat when he’s hungry. 3) John knew if he ate the cupcake, his mother was going to yell at him, but the cupcake was worth the consequences of being yelled at or 4) John did not hear what his mother said because he was watching TV at the time.

Now the only one who really knows why John ate the cupcake is John, and John might not even understand it himself. However the relationship between John and his mother is going to have some stress in it. All kinds of things we do, produce stress in others which in turns produces stress in our relationships to them. Which makes us angry with them and they with us. For our youth, stress is that stuff when we feel look grrroooh.

We forget, the most important thing we have to offer each other is not that I am right and you are wrong, but rather a good relationship. Jesus said, “this is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.” Our new purpose statement tells us, in response to God’s love, our purpose is to love others. We are all too eager to throw this simple commandment to the wayside and still choose to try to be psychic in dealing with each other when misunderstandings occur. It’s easier for me to guess your motive for what you did, than to actually listen carefully to what you’re tying to tell me and love you in the process..

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