3 thoughts about How to Strengthen and Protect Your Closest Relationships
1. Place the value of your closest & most important relationships above everything else in your life!
No job, promotion, hobby, possession, no amount of money or fame, nothing else even comes close in value; because ‘things’ are replaceable – people are not. What kind of price tag would you place on your relationship with your mom and/or dad, your spouse, your child? Where can you go to buy a good friend? Yet tragically, we often don’t realize just how valuable these people are to us until we lose them. Don’t take even 1 of these relationships for granted!
- Re-appraise the value of your loved ones. If you knew today was your last day to spend in this world, all that would matter is your relationship with God and the people who are most important to you (the ones you should love the most). Jesus in Matthew 6:21 “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Who or what is your treasure?
- Make sure your greatest treasures know their value. If you’ve not verbalized or expressed this recently, find a way to do it while you still can! (Write them a note if that’s easier than face to face.
- Protect Your Valuables. When David and his men were away from home and the people they loved, an enemy came in and kidnapped their families. “The Thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy…” Satan’s plans are subtle. He gets us pre-occupied with other pursuits – often good and noble things. If we put those pursuits ahead of our greatest treasures, then we leave them unprotected. Guard what is valuable to you! How? Spend time with them!
- Be involved in their lives – don’t just be consumed in your own.
- Turn off your electronics. (TV, computer, phone, etc.)
- Leave work on time or change your work schedule.
- Have a weekly Family Game Night.
- Eat meals regularly together.
- Find a babysitter and plan some date nights with your spouse (and maybe your child).
- Get help with hurts, habits, hang-ups – they affect your most valuable relationships the most.
- Pray together as a couple/family.
2. Take your bitterness and grief over lost relationships to the Lord.
If you have experienced the devastation of a broken or lost relationship, there is gamut of emotions you might feel: grief, guilt, anger, regret and fear are just a few. It leaves you with an emotional ‘scar’ or a ‘limp’. But one line from this story gives us hope if we’re ever in David’s shoes: "But David found strength in the Lord his God." (I Sam 30:6). It doesn’t happen all at once; but God can give you the strength to endure and carry on.
- Don’t let the mistakes and heartbreaks destroy you. Take your hurt and your pain to the Lord and exchange it for PEACE! How?
- Read this verse. Isaiah 53:5 "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." (NLV) "He was punished so we would have peace."
- o Pray and ask God for His help and strength.
Jesus took the punishment for our sin so we could live at peace with God AND with each other. Some relationships can be restored, but some we cannot fix. And it hurts when you’re reminded of what you’ve lost. There’s a wound. God understands that wound. "He was wounded…" Jesus was treated badly by people he didn’t know, but also by some of his closest friends, family and followers. "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering"(Isaiah 53:3). Even God Himself at one point turned His back on Jesus when He was bearing all our sin and pain on the cross. Jesus said "My God my God, why have you forsaken me?" Why was Jesus rejected & wounded emotionally and physically? It was for you! It was to offer you peace in exchange for your pain; and forgiveness in exchange the punishment we deserve for our sin!
- Forgive yourself!
God forgives us and even gives us the ability to forgive ourselves. I John 3:20 says "This then is how we know that we belong to the Truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything."
3. Pursue those you love with all your heart!
There is no guarantee that your marriage, your family or your friendship will be restored. But I can guarantee you; they are worth fighting for! When you fight for them, make sure you’re fighting against the Enemy and not against the ones you love! The Thief wants to deceive you and frustrate you to the point where you see the ones you love as the enemy. But remember, SATAN is the enemy; THEY are your Treasure! So aim both barrels at the enemy; but love your friends and family even when they’re making it hard – because "love never fails." Show them they are worth fighting for.
"…David inquired of the Lord, ‘Shall I pursue this raiding party?’ ‘Pursue them,’ (God) answered. ‘You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.’" (I Samuel 30:8)
"Greater love has no man than this; that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)
"We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph 6:12)