Before You Leave...
Hey there, as we gear up to kick 2023 to the curb, we need to take a moment to pause, reflect, and chart a course. I'm not claiming to have all the answers, but I do want to share a few thoughts from the perspective of a committed follower of Jesus.
Imagine our lives as a rug on a loom, woven with threads of joy, challenges, victories, and perhaps a few unexpected detours. As we get ready to start 2024, it's only natural to look over the combination of clean lines on the loom and tangled up yarn on the floor.
There's no better guide for this than God’s word and his story.
In the Bible, we discover stories of overcoming adversity, examples of redemption, and lessons (sometimes hard) on the power of love and forgiveness. It's like a roadmap for our own life. It gives insight into how we can navigate the complexities of our relationships, especially the ones that tend to be a bit more challenging.
Now, let's talk about those relationships that have been a little more... intricate. We all have them – the ones that make us dig deep, the ones that test our patience, and the ones that, quite frankly, feel like a never-ending rollercoaster ride.
The Bible is filled with guidance on handling such relationships. Almost like it was written with broken relationships in mind!
Remember the story of Joseph? Sold into slavery by his own brothers, may have caused some feelings of abandonment or loneliness (YEAH). But he emerges as an MVP of forgiveness.
It's a reminder extending grace, even to those who have wronged us, can transform the dynamics of a relationship. Forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting, but it does mean freeing ourselves from the chains of resentment.
I know you know you can’t force anyone to reconcile in a damaged relationship. All you can do is you. If you want to do you well and you want to see the difficult relationship improve, there are two steps you can take.
Two steps you have complete control over.
1) Forgive the hurt. You must admit you are hurt and identify what hurt you most. Then decide to forgive them for what hurt you, whether they ask you to or not or even admit they hurt you. This is both for you to start healing and for the possibility of a better relationship in the future.
2) Keep the door open. Have you ever tried to fix a relationship where the other person doesn’t want to? It is confusing, frustrating, and often makes it worse. Your best move is to make sure the door is open to reconciling. Let them know you hope for better, let them know you are ready anytime they are to try, let them know they are welcome and wanted in your life. Keep the door open.
Talking the Talk
Now, let's drill down into the nitty-gritty of relationships – communication. Words are more powerful than we realize! Proverbs 16:24 reminds us, "Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." Proverbs 18:21 is even more intense, “The tongue has the power of life and death.”
Simple version, the words you use and the way you use them matters.
When was the last time you truly communicated with someone you care about? Not just exchanging information, schedules or being nice, but really connecting.
Communication is the key that unlocks the door to non-surface relationships. It's not about talking at someone but talking with them, ensuring that your words build bridges, not walls.
Instead of just saying, "I love you," to you wife, surprise her by taking over a chore she despises.
Instead of simply giving you kid a hug, take a second, look them in the eyes and affirm who they are (not just what they do).
Got a close friend? Instead of just hanging out next time you are going to see them, bring them a simple gift (men, it could be wings!).
It speaks volumes. It's about speaking their language, a language that transcends and unlocks connection.
A Blueprint for Renewal
The calendar is going to change soon, let's commit to ending 2023 well. Take a minute to think backward before you go forward. Go inside with the wisdom from God’s word. It may bring you to a place of forgiveness, of purposeful words, and/or deeper connections.
Ending the year or starting the year however you want to think about it, focus on the things that truly matter – your relationships, your connections, and your growth.
First, Talk To God
No better way to work through this than talking to God. Not sure where to start, maybe this can help.
"Dear Heavenly Father, as I end one year and start another, please guide me. Give me the wisdom to navigate the complexities of my relationships, the strength to forgive, and the humility to communicate with love. I want to follow Jesus and be more like Jesus. Let your Word renew my mind as I go into the unknown of 2024. In Jesus' name, Amen."
Here's to ending 2023 with grace, love, and hope. May the year ahead be a blank slate waiting for you to be more like Jesus than ever before.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Would you like to see more content like this? Visit our BLOG
We love connecting with people. Visit us at mountainridge.church
Finally, check our our YouTube channel for great videos designed to help you move forward