“Relationships or Bust”

By Pastor Tim Burt

Proverbs 17:17 “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need”

Many of us know the story of Joseph and the wrongful accusations brought against him by his master’s wife in Genesis chapter 37. She lusted after him. He kept his integrity out of his love for God and his master and refused her. In revenge she falsely accused him. It resulted in his sitting in prison for many years. In the midst of this living nightmare, Joseph kept his heart right and the Lord was able to work in His life to deliver him. Jesus was also falsely accused over and over again. It was false accusation that led to His walk to Calvary to die for our sins.

There are things that can happen or that we do in our day-to-day walk that cause our hearts to become hardened and make us insensitive to the presence, leadings and promptings of God’s Spirit. When this happens, we shut out God’s presence and the power that is available to help lead us, give us the wisdom we need, and heal us. Staying sensitive to God and His presence in our lives is no insignificant matter! Therefore we have to put away the things that can unknowingly harden our hearts – the things that God hates that cause relational destruction and bitterness and lead to falsely accusing, spreading gossip, and destroying one’s reputation.

Prov 6:16-19 says, ”There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

As we look at this verse we see that God hates “hands that shed innocent blood and a false witness who pours out lies.” Again, God never hates us. He hates these actions that hurt others and eventually us. Initially, when you think about these two you probably think, “whew, I am glad these are not two things I could be accused of.” Well, we might be giving them place in our life.

I will give you a simple example. When I have had people in my office for counseling, a majority are there because of getting offended at someone else. “So and so said this; so and so did that; this is going on in my life and it’s their fault!” The truth is, to every person’s story of being hurt; there is another side and another perspective. Most people are horrible at working through conflict. Instead they talk derogatorily about the person they are offended with. Even though the Bible instructs us to go back to those that “have something against you,” very few do. Most hold it inside and let it turn to bitterness and deep hurt. Then go around painting verbal pictures of the hurt so and so did. When this happens, that person could be acting as a false witness or shedding innocent blood – getting someone in trouble or dishonoring their good name by the words of hurt that they speak against the one they were hurt by.

I don’t know of any greater weakness overall in the body of Christ than the unwillingness to work through relational conflict. In the story of Joseph, there would be no working it through with his master’s wife. There won’t be any great relational resolution with people that are wicked or mean. But, in the body of Christ, that should not be so.

I wouldn’t be surprised if most of us have had a close friend take offense by something we’ve said or done (or not done) at some point in life. Those things happen and are usually born out of misunderstanding. When that happens, if it isn’t worked out, the temptation for offense that leads to words of gossip in the name of justification begin to spill. Rather than reconciliation, bitterness can set in and friendships might end up destroyed. That’s what Psa 41:9 implies. “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”

Shedding innocent blood doesn’t have to mean murder. It can be damaging someone’s name or reputation because of a hurtful perspective that could be resolved between two Christians that humbled themselves and took the high road to work it out – especially between friends. A person that isn’t loyal to a friendship doesn’t know what friendship is and doesn’t know how to be a true friend. As today’s Fresh Manna implies, “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.”

The loyalty of friendship and Christian love should be deep, not petty enough to discard good friendships. Every Christian’s personal development and efforts toward maturity should work toward the purging of being easily offended as one of their top pursuits – working to remove it completely from their character. As the Apostle Paul exhorted us to do in Acts 24:16. “… I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.” We need to value our friendships and relationships enough to do our best to work through misunderstandings and humbly seek forgiveness and reconciliation. As Proverbs 17:9 says, “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”

When we tear people down the Holy Spirit is trying to get us to stop. We can sense it if we are sensitive to Him. If getting offended and talking to others about it is the norm, we’ll override God’s still small voice, harden our heart, and lose our ability to sense the presence that brings, power, life, direction, healing, miracles, His love and the anointing to minister to others. I am going to work to get it right and not let the devil steal the presence of God that He shed His blood for me to have! I am going to stay in relational harmony with those God brings into my life! How about you?

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved

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