What It Takes for Relationships to Thrive

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. –Ephesians 4:29-32

Sometime ago, I had to call a friend to apologize for hurting his feelings for some things I had written in an email. Perhaps like me, you’ve also found that it is very easy to write what you would not have the nerve to say if you were looking your friend right in the eye.

In this culture of texting, social media and email, here’s a reminder: these electronic forms of communication do not take the place of living, breathing, face-to-face relationships. Relationships are most meaningful as they are lived out face-to-face and heart-to-heart. When misunderstandings arise, it takes fortitude and love to face a person and pour out your heart. Yet, that’s what is necessary for relationships to be all that God designed.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is filled with practical insights on how relationships thrive in the Kingdom of God. Relationships do best when they are lived in the spirit of Jesus’ love and with a dedication to honest, forthright and transparent communication. Imagine if all our relationships could be lived out as a carbon copy of the relationship that Jesus has with each of us. Imagine what would happen if we stretched ourselves to give grace and mercy to each of those who live in our sphere of relationships. Today, let’s strive to live out our relationships as God designed them to be lived.

1. Think through your communication and relationship habits with your friends. How are you relating to them in a God-honoring manner? What could you do to make those relationships thrive as God has designed?

2. Look carefully at the list of relationship and communication qualities listed above in Ephesians 4:25-32. Ask God for help in those areas of communication in which you need to grow.

Luke 15:11-32; Colossians 3:12-15; Ephesians 1:15-23

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Robin Dugall

A long-time contributor to HomeWord's daily devotionals, Robin is Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church of McCall, Idaho and Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church of Cascade, Idaho. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Theology at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon.

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