9 Who among you will give your children a stone when they ask for bread? 10 Or give them a snake when they ask for fish? 11 If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. 12 Therefore, you should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you; this is the Law and the Prophets.
13 “Go in through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is broad and the road wide, so many people enter through it. 14 But the gate that leads to life is narrow and the road difficult, so few people find it.
To help you better understand how you can help your spouse or other relationship partner (as well as friends and co-workers), Pastor Hamilton recommends these two resources:
1) Click here to take a free, fairly simple Five Love Languages quiz.
2) To plan steps toward a stronger relationship, click here for the “Truity 7 Love Styles test,” a more thorough, detailed tool. Pastor Hamilton says, “The test is free and shows a chart ranking how you prefer to receive love. You have to pay $19 for the full report which includes the chart of the way you give love and the explanations for each style—14 pages.” Understanding how you give love, not just how you want to receive, is a key step toward better relationships.
In this passage, Jesus summed up the big ideas he taught in the Sermon on the Mount, including God’s wisdom about human relationships. He had told his hearers to love their enemies, be honest, show mercy, and more. Those were not separate, individual rules. They expressed the great principle of treating others as God treats us, and as we wish others would treat us.
Lord Jesus, help me to live less and less in “demand” mode, and more and more in line with your teaching. Help me to treat others in the ways I wish they’d treat me. Amen.
* Hamilton, Adam. Love to Stay (p. 75). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.
I want to start by being completely honest. This was the hardest Insight blog I’ve written to date. It’s hard to write about relationships, particularly ones focused on dating and marriage, when you are divorced and single. I didn’t know what I could write that would be insightful, profound, touching…whatever writing is “supposed” to be. So I prayed. I started my prayer with a bunch of complaints, and far too many reasons why I should not be the one writing as a part of this series. But my good and faithful God changed the course of my heart and my thoughts. No matter what season of life I find myself in, relationships are always going to be a part of life.
A universal truth I think we all can agree on is that relationships require work and intentionality. We’d love for our relationships to be easy, but because they take work, it’s important to understand that sometimes that work is hard. Sometimes it requires much more of ourselves that we want to give…maybe even than we have to give.
On May 16th, I will have been a staff member at Resurrection for nine months. When I made the decision to accept the position I was offered, I also knowingly made the decision to leave my home…my family…and my friends. I knew I was making the right decision to move here because of the way everything fell into place and because I so strongly felt that God was calling me to something different, someplace different. But it hasn’t been easy, and I think the hardest part is missing the people I love in Illinois.
At 47 years old, I’ve learned that it’s not quite as easy to develop close friendships and relationships as when I was younger. At this stage in life, most people my age are in committed relationships and long-established friendships. I wanted it to be easy to find and develop relationships when I moved to Kansas City, but what I’ve found is that it is so hard…all new people…totally new and unfamiliar place. Close relationships don’t happen overnight, and I know that, in time, God will help me to develop close relationships here, but it’s definitely been one of the more challenging aspects of moving here. God has already brought some amazing people into my life since being here, but the kind of closeness my heart longs for is just going to take more time, more work and more intentionality on my part.
During the early stages of the pandemic, we all had to become more creative and work harder at connecting with people and cultivating relationships because we were forced into a sort of weird, scary isolation. Some relationships grew during that time and some drifted apart; some relationships became life-giving, while others became hurtful and harmful. During the past few years, I think we’ve all learned a thing or two about relationships, the importance of them in our lives, and the profound impact being in any sort of relationship has.
I believe God desires for us to be in relationship with those around us, not just to provide love and companionship, but to stretch us, to teach us and to help us grow. Relationships are not supposed to be easy. They can be costly and challenging, but the healthy ones reap so many rewards.
In this season of forming new relationships for me, I am learning three very important lessons:
--One, it is vital for me to keep in touch with my family and friends in Illinois and all around the world. I need to make the effort to reach out and visit with them…check in on them and care for them. I need to make investments in those long-distance relationships by finding time to connect across the miles.
--Two, if I want to form close relationships here in KC, I need to be patient; I need to invest in the lives of those around me, and trust that God is working in that area of my life.
Three, God is teaching me about what he desires my relationship with him to be like. To grow closer to him, I need to make as much if not more effort to spend time with him, talk to him, trust in him, and lean on him. Giving of myself and my time to grow in my faith and in my relationship with God also takes work, and I’m learning to view and to appreciate this season of my life as an opportunity to grow closer to him.
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