As sure as God exists, we were created for relationship. God’s own triune nature demonstrates His design and commitment to community and relationship with Him as well as each other.
There’s so much toxicity in our relationships today because we don’t live out God’s design for them. In Romans 12, the apostle Paul shares several foundational principles for walking in healthy relationships.
While we typically think of relationships in the intimate sense, what’s interesting is that all relationships (professional, familial, friendships, etc.) share common pillars that will inevitably make or break them. As a strong foundation is to a sturdy house, so is a strong foundation to healthy relationships. Healthy relationships are key to our lives because God created us for community. And He has something to say about how we manage our relationships.
Over the next 3 weeks, we’ll be sharing 12 pillars of Godly relationships that help us make strong, enjoyable connections that honor God. Whether you’re single or coupled, you can adopt these universal pillars right where you are, across any relationship, personally, and professionally.
1. A Renewed Mind: Seeing As God Sees
Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. Romans 12.1-2 AMP
Scripture tells us to renew our minds (thinking) continually. For practical purposes, this means renewing our minds daily — gradually conforming to God’s perspective. As His children, we should embody the ways and character of God the more we walk with Him, especially in our relationships.
This matters because, without God’s perspective and heart, we can’t see and value people as He does them. And when we fail to see God’s value (perspective) of someone, we’ll inevitably value them less.
God cares about how well we relate to others because this reflects how well we love Him and by loving what He loves (Matthew 22.34-40). From the worst to the least of sinners, God’s love for us doesn’t change because everyone has value to Him.
Whenever I’m having a hard time with someone and want to go off, when I remember that God values them, it tempers my approach with a reverence for Him. Even if they’re wrong, He cares about how I handle that and treat them.
Seeing people as God sees them also helps us keep our relationships fresh expressions of love and appreciation because we can always find something valuable [and new] about them. You win with relationships by valuing them.
2. Grace: Giving What’s Not Deserved
For by the grace [of God] given to me I say to everyone of you not to think more highly of himself [and of his importance and ability] than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has apportioned to each a degree of faith [and a purpose designed for service]. Romans 12.3 AMP
Grace is receiving [good things] that we don’t deserve or things so precious that we could never earn.
Healthy relationships are rich in grace and giving. Relationships built on grace means that we freely give to others regardless of whether or not they “deserve” it. Because God extends His grace to us, we also have the privilege and responsibility of sharing that grace with others. He models, we follow.
Grace reminds us to keep a grateful heart in all situations, especially when people let us down. Gratefulness allows us to nurture our relationships with appreciation in words and action. People might forget what you say, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.
Grace is also how God responds to our failures. No matter how bad we fail, He keeps loving us, keeps giving of Himself, and always builds us up rather than tearing us down. We break God’s heart constantly and yet He always forgives. Similarly, we should extend the same grace to provide room for those we’re in relationships with that will inevitably fail us as flawed human beings.
Like anything worth having, successful relationships are built up over time. Look for ways to build up the ones you care about, starting with your words (Ephesians 4.29).
3. Humility: Remembering Others
For by the grace [of God] given to me I say to everyone of you not to think more highly of himself [and of his importance and ability] than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has apportioned to each a degree of faith [and a purpose designed for service]. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty [conceited, self-important, exclusive], but associate with humble people [those with a realistic self-view]. Do not overestimate yourself. Romans 12.3,16 AMP
Humility is a willingness to be known for who you really are and who you’re not. It’s to think of ourselves with sound or sober judgment, a lowliness of mind, and in the context of everyone else. Humility becomes a lens through how we view others.
The humble can freely admit when they’re wrong and when others are right. This humility allows for a level of vulnerability that only the most intimate, authentic, and lasting relationships enjoy.
As Dale Partridge once said, people who are always “fine” are faking, because no one is. Healthy and strong relationships are built on transparency and authenticity — a willingness to be known for who you really are.
Humility is the building block upon which all other relational qualities depend.
Contrary to popular belief, humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself, less; and to think of yourself in relation to the lives that you have the privilege to share in. How does what I do/don’t do affect them? How can I serve them and add value?
When each of us walks in true humility, peace, and getting along with others is impossible to miss.
Drop in next week for part 2 of our blog series: 12 Pillars Every Godly Relationship Needs — Love On The Move.