Sunday, June 3, 2012
Welcome to Day 154 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
In Proverbs, there are always so many great verses from which to choose… Right off the bat, this one hit me.
Proverbs 25:2, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter.”
Proverbs 26:20, “Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.” I journaled about this verse in a prior SOAP, but it bears repeating. So much wisdom in one verse.
Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Romans 15:5, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
Chewing on Proverbs 25:1. Obviously it’s not talking about concealing or covering up sin. The Scott Translation would be, “You’re on a need-to-know basis.” God doesn’t expose our sins for all to see. Thinking about “Love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8.
Romans 15, you can tell Paul is wrapping up his letter to the church in Rome. He even gives a closing benediction before going to chapter 16 with all of his greetings and yet another benediction.
Paul often encourages the church to “endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4. These verses speak of “endurance, encouragement and acceptance.”
It’s not easy to be patient or long-suffering toward those around us. It’s easy when we’re wronged, hurt or angry to simply cut people off. Even if it’s only emotionally. We can still spend time together, but emotionally I could be very distant.
Relationship takes work. In our disposable society, it’s easy to make relationships disposable, too… Like they’re not worth the effort and heartache.
I have found that my lasting relationships are the ones that I have worked through some “stuff” with them. Pressing through differences or offenses.
I’m convinced that in lasting relationships (note that I am intentionally not using the word “friendship.”) “Relationship” has a much broader context, including family, co-workers, neighbors, so on and so forth.
I have really grown to appreciate the lasting relationships in my life. Now having been part of our church for 22 years, I have many relationships that have stood the test of time. In spite of difficulties.
It takes endurance to maintain relationship. Especially through difficult situations.
I think that’s why Paul said, “endeavor” to keep the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace. Unity doesn’t have to mean “agreement.” We can disagree and still walk in unity. At least I think so…
Often times people take different paths. My path led me in a different direction than many of my friends were taking. They weren’t bad people. We were just on different paths.
And I’m not talking only about whether or not they are Christians, or separating myself from my friends who were party-ers. Sometimes life just takes us in different directions. Sometimes we just… lose touch. Grow in different ways… have different interests.
Sometimes those relationships can be rekindled… other times, not so much. Some relationships just seem take a lot of work.
I’ve heard an analogy that organizations use, about “getting on the bus.” This is our bus… decide if you want to get on the bus with us. (Then it’s about getting the right people in the right seats of the bus.)
In this life, there are many busses that one can choose.
Even if we’re on the same bus, we have different personalities. I connect easily with some people, others, again, not so much. We just don’t connect. We may be on the same bus, but not sitting next to each other.
For the sake of the Gospel, Paul prayed for “endurance and encouragement” for the people in Rome. He knew how difficult it was to maintain relationship. He and Barnabas, his mentor, had a disagreement about taking John Mark with them on a ministry trip. Paul also had a disagreement with Peter about following Jewish customs. In so many words Paul accused Peter of hypocrisy. Teaching one way but living another…
If you can see the strength in others… and not make being “right” the goal of communication, that we can disagree and still have relationship, that is optimal.
The goal of communication should be understanding, not agreement.
But not everyone may agree with that.
Lord help me in my relationships to see the strength in others. To listen to and understand them. That I wouldn’t always have to be right…