It is an honour to have yet another guest writer, Pr Ken, from Tent of Testimonies International. The youth pastor is also very knowledgeable and passionate about relationships and people. He gives us his 2 cents about how the world revolves around relationships.
To say that the world revolves around relationships is an understatement. When you think about it, any transaction, business deal, appointment or basically human interactions that produce a coordinated and desired result have some form of relationship at its core. They may be formal, acquaintance, informal or professional relationships, but relationships nonetheless. I, therefore, dare say that relationships are at the core of human interaction, and getting them right is sure to give you an upper hand in many interactions.
Doubt me? Then you ought to read Dale Carnegie’s book, “how to make friends and influence others” to see my point. At this juncture, you may ask me, “Wouldn’t reading a book outlining how to relate with people make you a fake friend or person?” I used to think this way. Until I met a certain scripture.
Proverbs 18:24 – A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Romans 12:18 – If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
What gets me from these scriptures is the intentionality that is portrayed. To have a meaningful friendship or relationship you need to put in the sweat, time, and intention in cultivating that relationship. This doesn’t make you a plastic person. Instead, it builds you into a resourceful person, fit to interact not for your benefit only, but also for the benefit of the people you’re relating with. Perhaps to clarify further, it’s good to mention that Relationships are not there to benefit you. Instead, they’re there for the mutual benefit of every party because the motive of any Relationship is one thing, Love. I think this is a good starting point to any form of relationship and one that you shouldn’t forget.
I’ll add another crucial point. You cannot Love if you don’t know how to Love. In fact, intentionality reinforces the fact that Love is really all about knowledge. This is why you’re setting out to learn how to handle relationships. This applies to all forms of relationships. Some level of knowledge is required depending on the amount of involvement required. From this point onwards, I’ll narrow it down to Love relationships.
Love, Relationships and scripture
To effectively love you, I need to know you. I need to understand what makes you tick, what brings you joy, and what doesn’t. Agape Love as described in scripture focuses on the person being loved and not the lover. You, therefore, focus on the person that you love and take care of them the best way they would love to be taken care of. They in return should do the same to you. This is how a loving relationship between a man and a woman ought to be. Because of this, it is very important that you first know the person that you intend to relate within this way before starting any form of relationship that is supposed to lead to marriage.
Because you need to know the other person well, it follows that Love has no reasons. You don’t love because you love despite. Put differently, you like because you love despite. Anyone who tells you why they love you is indirectly saying that the day that condition is not met, then they cease to Love you. Therefore, before starting any such relationship, have it in your mind that you’re taking a person as they are. That’s why you cannot put them away even if you feel like you don’t “Love” them. It was never because of goodness that a person offered you. Any Love relationship should stem from a decision that is backed up by knowledge you have about them.
A good picture of this is seen on the cross at Calvary. First of all, Jesus did not come to earth for himself. He came because he Loved humanity. Therefore, leaving His God nature, he humbled himself to death, and death on the cross (which is a very shameful act because it meant that you’re cursed) to save people. All the things He did on the earth including being crucified at the cross were done because He LOVED you. Had he not loved you then He’d have stayed in heaven. Mark you, He never did all these because you deserved it. He loved you inspite of your sin. And when it cost Him His life to demonstrate His Love for you, He paid that cost. Because as the scriptures say, Love is as strong as death. Song of Solomon 8:6
What shall we conclude?
We conclude several things. Relationships are very important in life. Anything you want in life is an afterthought to another person and relationships can ease the process of getting it. In equal measure, we should be intentional about building and sustaining relationships. Many Love relationships are doomed from the start because of a lack of knowledge. This means that building a friendship prior to escalating things may be a good way to go about things. But then, does everyone know this?
Lastly, it is possible to build great relationships and sustain them over and over again. Look at Jesus for example. He didn’t go to Bartimaeus’ house, but he went to Lazarus’ house and spent time with him. The woman with the issue of blood never got his attention. It was her faith that healed her, but as for the centurion servant, Jesus was willing to walk all the way to his house. The same can be said of Zacchaeus the tax collector. He went to his house and dined with him. Jesus was keen to build relationships with specific people, there’s no doubt about that. He chose this because he knew that these people represented something and it would help Him. I think that it’s prudent to follow in his steps.