Relationships are what really matters in life; our relationship to God, with our spouse, children, extended family members, friends, and others within our communities, yet all too often, we allow these relationships to occupy much lower positions than they deserve on our priority lists. If we are not careful, we can allow somebody or something to drive a wedge between ourselves and the people who are most precious to us. To maintain healthy relationships, we need to learn how to keep the strife out of our lives. God made each of us as unique individuals. We have different personalities and temperaments; we approach issues in different ways, so we really shouldn’t be surprised when we grate against one another occasionally.
Too often, though, if someone doesn’t agree with our opinion, or see eye to eye with us on some matters, we get bent out of shape and allow strife to ferment. I’ve discovered that just because somebody is not exactly like me, or doesn’t do things the way I do them, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I am right and they are wrong. We’re just different, and our differences can cause friction.
It takes maturity to get along with somebody who is different than you are. It takes patience not to start a dispute over minor issues or become easily offended. If we’re going to keep the strife out of our lives, then we must learn how to give people the benefit of doubt. We will also need to overlook somethings. We should not expect the people with whom we are in a relationship to be perfect when we aren’t perfect ourselves. That’s tasking and overwhelming and no needs such life-threatening pressure.
No matter how great a person is, no matter how much you love him or her, if you are around that person long enough, you will have an opportunity to be offended. There is no such thing as a perfect spouse, perfect friend, perfect boss, or even perfect pastor. If we’re putting unrealistic expectations on people, expecting them to be perfect, that’s not fair to them, and it will be a source of frustration for us. We’re always going to be disappointed. Some people live with the attitude of, “I’ll love you as long as you never hurt me or as long you never make a mistake”.
This is extremely unfair and places too much pressure on that other person. The Scripture teaches us that love makes allowances for people’s weaknesses. Love covers a person’s faults. In other words, if you truly love the other person as much as you claim to, then you must learn to overlook somethings. Quit demanding perfection out of your loved one and learn to show a little mercy. Start making allowances for each other’s weaknesses. Start wearing your feelings on your sleeves that way you won’t be easily offended.
Few things are worse than living with a touchy, overly sensitive person. If somebody offends you or does something wrong to you, be gentle with your manner of approaching him or her with the issue. Don’t be rude about it, for that would only worsen the situation. After telling them, forgive them and forgive yourself. Shake it off and move on. The Scriptures teaches us that love believes the best in people.
Remember, love, covers a fault. Instead of going through the day offended and upset, consider the fact that he may not have been up to par. Maybe he’s under a lot of pressure at work or stressed out over some other matter. Rather than criticizing and condemning, give him the benefit of the doubt and believe the best in him. Understand this, they may not reciprocate it immediately, but, with time they will come to love not only you but everyone else they come in contact with.
Instead of immediately drifting to the negative and seeing the worst, it could change your life greatly if you would get in a habit of viewing events from a positive perspective and believing the best in people. You might see your relationship move to a whole new level if you’d just get rid of the record book. I recently met someone who has a mental list of everything anybody does to him year after year. He has a detailed scorecard, listing every time someone hurts him. He tells you, “I can’t forgive. I don’t know how to let go”. Yes, he may be right, because no one can ever give what they do not have.
But he can learn to forgive if he has someone like you and me who would show him what it means to forgive. In turn, he will throw out the negative record book he has and start looking for the good. As long as you’re bringing up pain from the past, you are going to have strife in your present. “But I’m the one that’s right!” You lament.
Maybe so, but do you want to be right, or do you want to have peace in your home and in your relationship? Do you want to have your way, or do you want to have a healthy relationship? Many times, we can’t have both. If you want to be happy and have a healthy relationship, it is vital that you don’t keep scores of offences.
Blessings and Love
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