Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Redeemed Conference - Redeeming our Relationships

The message given by Kerry Clarensau during the Saturday morning service at conference was another one that hit me between the eyes.

Because we are human, we at times will make relationship mistakes. I am not only referring to a relationship with your better half, but even relationships with friends and acquaintances can be affected by our human tendencies and emotions.

Matthew 22:34-40 talks about the greatest commandment given by Jesus. It is the most important objective in life, to love God and love others.

But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus said to him, “‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Jesus himself (red letter) said that loving God and loving others are the two most important commandments.

In my world, that means I need to slow down and reprioritize some things. It means that when I have laundry piled up and dishes in the sink and fourth grade homework that all need to be done at the same time, it is more important for me to show love to my husband and my son than it is for me to finish everything that needs to be done. My tendency is to get stressed and be impatient with my son when we are working on homework or try and do three things at once and not give him the attention that he needs to be successful at finishing his tasks.

In my world, it means that with a limited number of hours in the day, I need to make sure that even if something else gets neglected, spending time with Jesus doesn’t.

I’m a quote person so I love when I hear people say things that I can quote. One of the things Kerry said more than once over the course of the weekend was, “We need to be Jesus with skin on”. What a great visual. We need to be showing the love of Jesus to others through our words and actions. Jesus isn’t on earth anymore to stand beside someone, but you are and I am. We can make a difference in other people’s lives by being Jesus with skin on.

Steps to redeeming your relationships:
  1. Take full responsibility for yourself (Galatians 5:13-26)
  2. Choose mercy over harsh judgment
  3. Learn from people with more experience and then pay it forward
  4. Handle conflict with grace
    • We can overlook an offense in love
    • If we need to confront someone we need to do it in love
  5.  Look for ways to encourage other people.

The Bible talks about the proper way to handle conflict. If we have an issue with someone, we are supposed to take that issue directly to the person. The reason for this is not to point out their faults, but to restore the relationship.

These principles apply to any relationship, but I’m going to take just a minute to insert something here that weighs on my heart constantly. The divorce rate in America is incredibly high and last I saw there isn’t much difference in the numbers between those inside and outside of the church. Within my immediate circle of influence I can count on one hand the number of people who are still married to their first spouse. This is due to varying circumstances and what I am getting ready to say doesn’t apply in every single situation, however, I feel the need to say it and I apologize if it sounds harsh.

While there are some acceptable reasons for divorcing someone, many times in life, people get a divorce for ridiculous reasons. Or, even if the reason may seem legitimate, they do nothing to work on their relationship before divorcing. They simply take the easy way out and sign the papers.

This is not God’s plan for marriage. It isn’t His plan for you. The pain of divorce is real. The pain it causes your children is real. The scars it can leave behind are real. If you could stick it out and go through the Redeeming process that God can take you through, wouldn’t you rather do that. Wouldn’t you rather look back on your life and say, “God saw us through and our family is still intact”? Instead of looking back and saying, “we aren’t together as a family anymore because I was just tired of fighting”. Or, “we aren’t together as a family anymore because my needs weren’t being met so I just decided to leave.”

I have personally seen families torn apart, and I have personally seen God Redeem Marriages. I can tell you from my experience, if you are struggling in your marriage, take it to God. Ask Him to Redeem it. If you are willing to stick it out and willing for God to ask you to make some changes (even if you think you are the one that is right), I believe that He will Redeem your marriage. Commit yourself and your family to Him and see what He can do. It won’t happen overnight, but I have seen it happen and I know that He can do it. Let Him Redeem your relationship.

More quotes from Kerry:
“When you fixate on something you can’t change, satan is thrilled because you are neglecting the thing you can change, YOU”

“Forgiveness isn’t a feeling. Forgiveness is a behavior. Unforgiveness ties us to the pain of what has happened.”

“You can’t feel your way into right behavior, but you can behave yourself into right feelings.”

“Love is the only thing that has ever changed people.”

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