Relationships can be messy. So for the month of December I want to write on the idea of Relationship Restart.
Relationships can be messy. Especially around the holidays, relationships between two people or within families can become stressed. For married couples, there is the stress of visiting families. For families who exchange gifts, there is the need to find additional monies to purchase gifts for others, and for those with children, there are Santa Claus expectations.
But generally speaking, relationships require work because healthy relationships don't just happen. From my experiences, we typically are much better at assuming things than we are taking time to research the facts. We all know what can happen when we assume.
For example someone can say something to us and we can allow our feelings or past experiences to interpret their words. Or we might see two people talking and we can suddenly assume they are talking about us.
Last Sunday morning in Sunday School, our class discussed the story of Joseph, specifically his encounter with his brothers after he shared the details of his dream (Genesis 37). We know Joseph was shown favoritism by his dad, but we don't know if Joseph intentionally sought to antagonize his siblings with his “coat of many colors.” Likewise, we don't know if Joseph shared the details of his dream because he wanted to upset his siblings. But we do know how Joseph's brothers responded.
Joseph's brothers were jealous. They made a decision to take the coat of many colors from him and throw him into a dry pit. They wanted to get rid of their brother, but instead of killing him, they sold him into slavery.
Seems unfair that Joseph would be betrayed by his own flesh and blood because of their jealousy and anger. But it happened and as Joseph said to his brothers sometime later, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” Genesis 50:20 NKJV
In our relationships with others: spouses, parents, extended families, churches, co-workers, etc., we must accept personal responsibility for our jealously and anger. When we are offended, we choose to be offended. And when we carry our grudges, jealously, and anger for days, months, and for some people - years, we are hurting no one but ourselves.
So if your dealing with a messy relationship, take personal responsibility for your thoughts and/or actions. Let God deal with you about your attitude and allow Him to show you the inappropriate attitude that you possess. THEN, go to the other party and seek to make things right. Seek healthy, God-honoring relationships.
Carlyle Hall, Jr.