Now that the end of summer is near, I have had time to reflect on what God has worked on me in the past few months. This summer, God has grown my relationship-building skills. He has brought new people into my life (and some old friends back into my life), and I am learning to build my relationships the right way.
In the Bible, God provides us with guidelines to help us build the right kind of relationships. Here are some of the verses that I have used to help me work on myself when fellowshipping with others.
1. First Corinthians 13:4-7
“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Now, I know that these verses are extremely popular. Most people use them in their wedding vows. (I think that is so sweet!) The cool thing about these verses, though, is that God meant for them to show us how to love everyone, not just spouses.
Reading this section over and over again in the Bible can eventually grow dull and make you skim over the words rather than absorb the message in them (it happens to me sometimes).
A trick I use to overcome this is to replace the word love with my name. “Ann Marie is patient, Ann Marie is kind…”
This helps me hold myself accountable and helps me understand what kind of person that I should be towards others.
2. Philippians 2:1-4
“1Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
The reason I chose these verses is that, in the past, I never valued my friends for just who they were. I sometimes valued them for what they could do for me.
That is not what God called us to do. He called us to love others and serve them and treat them with the love and kindness that Jesus showed us when he died for us.
Now when I build relationships, I always try to ask myself, “what can I do for this person?”, “Do they need anything today?” and many other similar questions.
When we build relationships, whether they are long or short, deep or surface level, we should always give with a servant’s heart and always aim to be there for others.
3. Proverbs 27:6
“6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”
This verse specifically has helped me realize what true relationships look like, and how I want others to build a relationship with me.
My closest and dearest friends are the ones who have truly pointed out my faults and held me accountable. They created “wounds” in my ego or emotions so that I could grow into a better person.
To me, honesty is one of the greatest qualities a relationship can have. Those who are honest show that they sincerely care about their friends, and they want to help them reach their greatest potential.
I appreciate every honest but hurtful word that a friend has shared with me because it has helped me better myself down the road. I hope that I can be the friend that can gently but honestly help someone grow by giving them “wounds.”
4. Ephesians 4:29
“29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
This verse is so important to the relationships that struggle with gossip. There are numerous times in high school (and even a bit in college) where I can recall losing a friend over gossiping and saying mean things about one another (and I was guilty some of those times).
I know that most people can relate (even those who have been out of high school for years), and have lost friends because of slander.
Friends are meant to build you up and defend you against the enemy (who sometimes uses gossip to destroy your progress). Friends have your back and help you every step of the way through your struggles, so why speak badly of someone who would do so much for you?
Relationships with others are so important, especially as a disciple of Christ. God created us to fellowship with one another, and the best way to do fellowship is to build great relationships. When we love others like God loves us, we build up strong bonds in the Church that are hard to break.
In the past few years, I have had a multitude of friends, I have been a friend in many different ways, and I am happy to say that my relationships with others are changing for the better. I’d like to thank all of my friends, past and present, that have helped grow me into the person I am today (you know who you are). I am so grateful for you, and I will always have a place for you in my heart!