It’s Critical to Protect the Relationships God Has Given You!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Relational blow-ups happen in life. They are never fun. To the contrary, they are painful! Especially when they happen with a good friend and someone you truly love. But, when people are fickle, and too many are when it comes to relationships, they often toss away once-valued relationships like garbage or used Kleenex.

2 Timothy 1:13 -14 NIV says, “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”  

In this verse, we see the Apostle Paul instructing the disciples around him to look at his pattern of sound teaching. He wanted them to value and guard this new way of life in Christ, walking in obedience to God’s Word. Paul was a living example of how to think and be like Jesus. He knew that his influence was impacting their lives. He knew it was important for them to learn the word of God, but he also knew they needed to see someone live it out practically in real life. And so he always did his best to model the Christian life for them. He was also warning them that others were out to ruin his reputation and he wanted his disciples to remember the kind of man he was! There were many who hated Paul out of jealousy, believing he was a heretic. They were continuously trying to destroy his reputation and character through lies and rumors. He wanted the disciples to remember who he was and what he represented. When the lies and rumors hit them, he wanted them to guard their hearts and remember the truth about his pattern of sound teaching. Paul knew what we should all learn. That people who are leaders for God are hated by the enemy and become his targets. Because they are, Satan works to sow suspicion, lies, gossip and more—all with the hope of tearing down their reputations like he did with Jesus.

You wouldn’t think Paul would have to worry about that but think for a minute; Jesus was one day teaching, preaching, casting out demons and healing everyone around Him. They believed Him to be a prophet of God if not the Messiah Himself. Yet after the persecution started, they turned their back on Jesus and forgot about what they had heard and seen and instead believed the rumors and lies. The Apostle Paul knew that this was a common fickleness of man’s behavior.

I have found that focusing on the good patterns in people has truly helped me value them at times when the devil would try to get me upset with someone and devalue them. At some point in life, the devil is out to destroy everyone’s reputation and character. Usually some kind of problem or misunderstanding happens. Then negative words or rumors start flying. Then the devil works to get us to pay attention and believe those negative comments or rumors more than years of a pattern of good things.  People that get sucked in by the lies about good godly people end up throwing away good relationships and friendships that have been a blessing to them like they were used Kleenex. I’ve seen people pick up other’s offenses against their Pastor and ending up abandoning him just because another person was offended at something. It is so sad! Value good people who have shown you long time love and care. Don’t be part of an attack against someone else’s reputation.  Stand up for them. If you’ve seen their good pattern of life, don’t easily forget it! And that includes your own good friends when they manage to do something to upset you! Stop talking about it. Pray about it. Focus on the good and why you love them. Ask the Lord to help you move past it. Especially if they are someone you’ve valued in the Lord.

In 1 Corinthians 13, we are instructed that our default mode should be to believe and assume the best of someone instead of easily being persuaded to believe the worst. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (TLB) “Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its
own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly
even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter
what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him,
and always stand your ground in defending him.”

I remember years ago, being upset with someone I considered a good friend. He had in my opinion made a few bad chooses which had a serious and hurtful impact on my life. For a while we were at odds with each other. I ran things through my mind over and over again. As I did, he became more and more of a villain. I had been praying about this when the Lord stopped me. He said, “I want you to think about everything you have ever liked about this person and the pattern of good in their life. Think about the blessing they’ve been to you for so long!” I started thinking about what a good person he was, and all the things I liked about him. The Lord reminded me of Proverbs 20:3 (NLT) “Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor: only fools insist on quarreling.” I remembered what a good friend he had been in so many ways over the years. As I did, the good feelings immediately started surfacing and bad feelings started to dissipate. I knew it was not his plan to hurt me. He had simply made some bad decisions but I also knew I had made my share of them over the years. Thinking about this with the help of the Holy Spirit helped me to back off and view the big picture with a more open perspective and forgive him. It lead to the desire to sit down and work out our differences. We worked things out and our friendship was better and stronger than before.

Being able to hold on to the best of people and overlook their flaws and mistakes is a supernatural doing. It takes the help of the Holy Spirit. That is why the Apostle Paul said, Guard the good deposit (what you have viewed and believed about good people) that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” It all starts with asking God to help you hold on to and remember and focus on the good you’ve seen and experienced from people in your life! Value relationships! They are not used Kleenex to throw away. They are a gift from God. He has placed them in your life for a reason. So guard and protect them!

Proverbs 17:9 (NIV) “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”  

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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