Being around parents and their young children is an interesting thing--especially when a child is first learning to talk. To the outside observer, the child's talk is utter nonsense; yet, somehow the parent seems to understand. The child says, "Baa la mi" (or some other combination of grunts, beeps, or clicks) and the parent gives the child a cup of milk. Amy and I have experienced this with all of our children. We have listened and observed our children for long enough to be able to understand what they are seeking to communicate, even when others have no idea what they said. The ability to understand our children did not happen overnight. It takes time and effort. Other relationships are not much different. If we are really going to get to know others, then it is going to take time and effort. Deep relationships don't happen overnight. They are cultivated over time. Relationships are hard work, but they are well worth the effort. The importance of relationships really comes into focus when we consider what the Bible has to say about relating to one another:
Love one another – Romans 12:10
Honor one another – Romans 12:10
Live in harmony with one another – Romans 12:16; 15:5
Instruct one another – Romans 15:14
Care for one another – 1 Corinthians 12:25
Comfort one another – 2 Corinthians 13:11
Serve one another – Galatians 5:13
Be kind to one another – Ephesians 4:32
Forgive one another – Ephesians 4:32
Address one another with psalms, hymns, spiritual songs – Ephesians 5:19
Submit to one another – Ephesians 5:21
Be truthful to one another – Colossians 3:9
Teach and Admonish one another – Colossians 3:16
Encourage one another – 1 Thessalonians 4:18
Build up one another – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Do good to one another – 1 Thessalonians 5:15
Exhort one another – Hebrews 3:13
Consider how to stir up one another – Hebrews 10:24
Confess sins to one another – James 5:16
Pray for one another – James 5:16
Show hospitality to one another – 1 Peter 4:9
Be humble toward one another – 1 Peter 5:5
So, commit yourself to doing the hard work of building relationships. In case you're wondering where to start, I'll leave you with three thoughts.
First, remember that the most important relationship is a relationship with Jesus. Without a proper relationship with Him, all of your other relationships will never be right.
Second, build relationships in the context of the local church.
Third, meet and build relationships with those who have yet to have faith in Jesus. The Lord can use you to help them find the relationship that they need most desperately.