The Way God Made Us Makes People Social Beings


God Made People Social Beings, Relating with InterdependenceWhen God created the heavens and earth, He weaved it together in such a way that one thing connect to or needed the other — an interdependence. The very order in which He created depicts how one thing sustains another. Though everything was made for man to enjoy and provided the needed sustenance, God determined man needed more — “a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18). He noted, “it is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18). Hence, from the beginning, people were made to be interdependent, social beings. Surely, this has implications for ministry.

God Made People Social Beings to be in a Relationship with Him and Others

God gave Adam someone to connect with on the same level, another human being. They could communicate with one another in a way not possible with other created beings. They could experience an interdependence on the mental, emotional, and spiritual levels, not just physically.

In addition to being created to relate with other humans, people were made to have fellowship with God. It appears that in the beginning, before the fall, God would walk with Adam and Eve in the garden (Gen. 3:8). They undoubtedly talked as they walked. Though such fellowship would be blocked when they chose to sin against Him, God still made a way for people to enjoy a relationship with Him.

Implications: Let’s put our primary emphasis on developing relationships, first with God and then with one another. Remember, the Greatest Commandments are to love God with all of who we are and then to love others (Matt. 22:37-40). When we focus on relationships, we get beyond mere religious activity. We stress fellowship with God as the answer to our deepest need. We follow God’s design for Body Life in the Church wherein we care for one another in meaningful ways.

God Made People to Relate with One Another in a Supplementary Way

Though another human being, Eve wasn’t exactly the same as Adam. She was compatible but differed in ways that enabled them to compliment and supplement one another. The oneness they were to experience (Gen. 2:24) didn’t require them to look and act the same. Rather, it was dependent on them being different.

Implications: Let’s remember that God’s initial intent to bring unity out of diversity continues. It can be seen in how He established the Church (Eph. 2:11-22), bringing together two very different, even hostile, people groups to be one in Him. When we celebrate each other, respecting and accepting those different from us, we learn and grow in ways not possible on our own. Let’s promote an interdependence in our relationships with one another.

For More About God’s Design for Interdependence in the Church, Go To: Resources on Body Life


Restarts in Relationships: The Steps


God Gives What We Need for taking Steps to Restarts in Relationships

God gave us a picture of what it takes for broken relationships to be restored. His Word provides much wisdom on how to get there. But, He doesn’t expect us to be able to do it on our own. He also gives the power and grace we need each step of the way.

Steps to Take Toward Restarts in Relationships

The following steps will help us “make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy” (Heb. 12:14). While we can work through them chronologically, ultimately they should be happening simultaneously. They mustn’t be viewed as a once and done effort. We may need to keep rotating through them or coming back to certain steps over and over.

  1. First examine your relationship with God and make sure you are right with Him. Are you relying on His wisdom, power, and grace?

We love because he first loved us. … For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 Jn. 4:19-21)

  1. Own up to any part you may have had in the problem and deal with it. Are you letting His grace break through any pride or insecurities in your own life hindering reconciliation?

How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matt. 7:4-5)

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps. 139:23-24)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 Jn. 1:9)

  1. Make reconciliation with others a priority. The longer time passes, the harder it may be to reconcile. Are you asking God for wisdom in how to proceed?

… if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. … (Matt. 5:21-25)

In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Eph. 4:26-27)

  1. Extend forgiveness to those who have hurt you. Seek the forgiveness of those you may have offended. Are you remembering God’s grace in your own life?

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Eph. 4:32)

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Col. 3:13)

Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying “I repent,” you must forgive them. (Lk. 17:4)

  1. Trust God to work for the good even when reconciliation doesn’t come or doesn’t come quickly. Are you confident in God’s sovereign power?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6)

  1. Keep praying for and treating the other person with respect and love regardless of his/her reactions. Are you seeking God’s grace to love and forgive as He does and His power to maintain Christ-like reactions when the response isn’t mutual?

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. (Lk. 6:27-29a)

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. … Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. … Do not take revenge … On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:14-21)


Restarts in Relationships: The Goal


God Gives What We Need for Restarts in RelationshipsThroughout our lives we’ll encounter times when we need a restart. Sometimes it’s because we’re stuck or sluggish, like we saw in the last post about when our ministries might need a restart. Other times, it’s because something is broken, like our fellowship with others due to some sort of offense, hurt, or misunderstanding. The strain on our relationships can lead to hostility and division if we don’t take steps toward reconciliation.

Relational restarts usually aren’t easy since we can’t control the reactions of others. Yet, God will provide the needed wisdom, power, and grace.

Goal of Restarts in Relationships Should be Reconciliation

God in His wisdom demonstrated for us what it takes for relational restoration. Notice the elements of love, sacrifice, and forgiveness (“not counting people’s sins against them”) in the following verses, resulting in peace, no longer alienation.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. … For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Rom. 5:8-10)

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Cor. 5:18-19)

and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you … (Col. 1:20-22)

So, in our relationships with one another, we’re to love as He loves which will sometimes require us to sacrifice and forgive even those who do not deserve such mercy and grace. We will strive toward peace with one another. — “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Rom. 12:18)

Understand the Realities of Restarts in Relationships

When talking about forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration, and peace in relationships, we need to accept the following realities:

  1. Reconciliation may not mean agreement. We may need to agree to disagree as we make every effort to be at peace with one another, not letting bitterness or hostility fester. (Rom. 12:18; Heb. 12:14)
  1. Forgiveness means we are not vindictive or holding the person’s “sin” against them (2 Cor. 5:18-19). It does not mean a lack of consequences. Nor does it mean changes don’t have to be made before the relationship can be restored. We do not ignore dysfunction (Jn. 8:10-11).

The relationship may never get back to what it was but at least, out of reverence to Christ and for His sake, our goal should be to get to the point where we can truly be amicable, or at peace, with one another (Eph. 5:21). God will give us the grace and power we need to rise above as we take steps in that direction.