In today’s culture, you can turn just about any corner and see someone there with walls up. People put up walls for many reasons, but the biggest one seems to be that they’ve been hurt in the past, and they’re hoping to keep the “bad guys” out. We lock the door with hopes to protect ourselves, but by trying to keep the “bad” out, the “good” is unable to get in, and when the “good” can’t get in, we’re blocking our own relational blessings from coming forth.
We have all sorts of relationships in our lives: friendships, family relationships, romantic relationships, marriages… in each of these, there are keys to maintain health, and they are these:
1. BE WHOLE 2. BE SATISFIED 3. BE PRESENT 4. BE OPEN
1. BE WHOLE
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.”
Pastor Eli said it best: “Your eyes will direct you or infect you.” What we are searching for matters. Ask yourself: “Am I searching for someone to complete me?” The truth is that, the desire to be made whole by someone else implies lack. In relationships, we must come together as two whole people, and if you’re always searching for the “right” person, but you yourself are not the right person, the relationship won’t be near as healthy as it could be. It boils down to this: Happiness isn’t finding the right person, it’s being the right person. When we focus on being a whole person and then we can healthily join together with another whole person, and the relationship becomes so much more fruitful. So if you seek to be married, focus on being the right person. If you are married, focus on serving the right person. If you choose not to be married, focus on living the right purpose. When we focus on being the right person, we are then focusing on the fact that we are made WHOLE in Christ and that Jesus is the only one who can truly fill our cups so we can then pour into others.
2. BE SATISFIED
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Matthew 6:25, 27, 31-33
In Christianity, there seems to be a root of imposed desires that has spread throughout the church, and that is the desire to be married. Pastor Eli said today, “Singleness is not a problem to be fixed.” There is nowhere in the bible that declares that we must be married. In fact, Paul says that it is better to NOT be married, but if we cannot control ourselves, it is better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Cor 7:8-9). Every Christian has the same primary calling or vocation: We are called to Jesus, by Jesus and for Jesus. We must ask ourselves the question, “Does Jesus alone satisfy me?” Do you have the mindset of, “I am going to serve God regardless of what He can give me”? If God didn’t do another thing for you, would you still serve Him? We have to learn to be satisfied with what God has already given to us, for what He’s already done for us. And as we seek first His kingdom and live righteously, then He will supply our needs.
3. BE PRESENT
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Now, another hard question: Do you live your life out of past relationships? Have you put up walls or created prejudgments about everyone you meet because you’ve been lied to, cheated or betrayed? Are those walls or prejudgements affecting your current relationships? Sometimes we put up barriers because of life experiences, but we must examine our hearts and ask the question: “Why?” And when we choose to view our current relationships through the lens of our previous hurts, it can create problems that aren’t there and cause us to miss out on the blessing that is right in front of us. If you’re always looking at what you don’t have, you’ll never be able to see what you do have, and nothing added to our lives will ever be “good enough” for us.
Tomorrow eludes to you the possibility of “better.” But “better” will always elude you because you fail to see the blessing of today. If we seek to live in tomorrow, we miss the blessings of today, and if we miss the blessing of today, we will live in our tomorrow with the regrets of yesterday.
4. BE OPEN
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
To be open is the master key to a successful relationship. Every relationship has baggage because every person has baggage. Everyone has a part of themselves that they don’t want anybody to see, and so we hide it all behind a door. We lock others out to maintain a perception of perfection. Things build up over time– a hurt here, a hurt there. Eventually, our lives implode because we never dealt with the little things over time. Hurt piles up, and pretty soon we’re afraid to let people in because we don’t want them to see the mess and we’re afraid that if they see who we really are, they’ll abandon us. But here’s the thing: You’re not mean to live behind that door, and you’re not meant to live life alone. The bible says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed,” (James 5:16). A lot of the time, freedom comes from bringing our mess to the light, but we put up this facade. It’s okay for a friend to call you out on the things you’re doing that aren’t right or healthy. It’s okay to appear “weak,” to others, because the Bible says that when we are weak, we are strong (2 Cor 12:10). It’s okay to give people the key to that door you’re hiding behind, so they can come help you in times of need. Have you given someone the key? Or are you locked in? Secret sin, depression, anxiety and unhealthy tendencies are things you were never meant to carry alone.
Say to someone today, “I give you permission at any time in my life to come in when I’m hiding, and open up the door.” Trust that the right people will never stop knocking until you let them in, and if you’re knocking on someone else’s door, don’t give up on them, because they need you. And remember to first seek Jesus– come to His throne so He can make you whole, so He can satisfy you, so you can be present and open with Him. Our relationship with Jesus is the most important relationship we will ever have, and in Him is where we find our freedom.