Growing Families and Other Relationships
Author: Steve Huston  
20180813
 

 

Do you feel like your family is falling apart? Do you long for closer relationships? Good news ahead! Read on…

We have often warned our dear readers about the various dangers that are seeking to destroy the family—YOUR family. What else can we expect from an all but morally bankrupt society? With the rise of technology these dangers have grown, become more available, and have deepened their impact upon the unsuspecting soul of individuals, families, churches, and nations. This is not an article to attack technology; but rather, it’s hope to be proactive in building our families (and other relationships), regardless the overwhelming threats that abound. After all, what concerned citizen hasn’t mourned the breakdown of the family? With all the attacks against it, many of which we don’t even recognize as being hazardous to the health of a family, it’s no wonder that the foundation of our nation—the family unit—is eroding away and bringing about the collapse of the church and the nation as well.

Like a well-armed archer, let’s make sure that our quiver has an abundance of these four arrows in it. The arrows of Communication, Communion, Cooperation, and Climbing Higher.

Communication:  Communication is of key importance in any relationship; without it we not only can’t grow closer, we will naturally drift further apart. Unrestricted screen time really hampers communication - so often we don’t even realize it’s happened. We must make every effort to intentionally focus on those who are with us now. As alluring as a video game, chat room, news article, Facebook, movie, or podcast might be, it’s vital that we choose to be with our spouse and children and be in the moment with them.

Developing the art of communication is simple—not easy—but simple. Ask questions and patiently listen for the response. If talking about things with your children or spouse is fairly new to you, it may take time for them to gather their thoughts and share. It takes trust to share a viewpoint that might differ from others; trust and feeling safe to share takes time to build. Share your opinion too, respectfully. Discuss happenings in the world and in your community. If you’re watching a movie together, talk about it afterward. Not all communication needs to be serious; joke around and have some fun too.

As a Christian, I would encourage other Christians to strive to bring their opinions in compliance with the Word of God. Our conversations, decisions, and actions should match the Bible, including our differences with one another.When we don’t see eye to eye, love, grace, truth, and understanding are vital and to be expected. These should be the sharp points which top our arrows of communication; they will pierce the heart, breaking down barriers. Anything else will do harm and stifle our conversations.

The habit of good communication is very important because without it 1) these next three arrows are impossible to use and 2) We will be better prepared to deal with hard times and issues.

Communion:  I’m not talking about breaking out the wine/grape juice and bread; although the principle might be similar. All relationships that hope to grow closer need to experience times of just being in one another’s presence, focused on each other, and just enjoying the simplicity of relationship. With gratitude we remember what they have done, we think on what they might like us to do for them, and we just enjoy being together. It could be enjoying a campfire together, watching the stars, playing a game, simply sharing a cup of coffee, or any number of things which you can experience together. In a spiritual sense one might call it fellowship. These are important times where we remember to appreciate one another. To notch this arrow on your bow, one needs to clear all the distractions away in order to better hit the target right on.

Cooperation:  This is like a couple of special arrows holding a net which draws us together and can hold us tight if done well. Most families from days gone by understood the importance of working toward a common goal. Whether they were bringing in the harvest together or canning goods for the upcoming winter months, cooperation was a necessity! There’s just something special about sweating together or pulling together that builds a bond of accomplishment, respect, and often love. Maybe canning isn’t for you, but everyone knows an elderly person or others in need. As a family, go and rake leaves, cook a meal or bake some cookies together and deliver it together, raise money as a family for missions, or visit a veteran’s home or elderly care center and listen to their stories together; the list is truly endless. The important thing is that you’re working together, making memories together, and building oneness into your family.

One can certainly expect snafus to come up during these planned times. Be a confident and patient leader; your action/reaction will set the pace. Make the best of these snafus, teaching Biblical principles along the way.

Climbing Higher:  The more we practice shooting these previous arrows, the more this will naturally happen. Climbing higher is taking (or making) opportunities for our relationship to grow deeper, experiencing a sense of loyalty, love, and oneness. It’s hard to explain; but, we’ve become invested in one another and are loathe to allow anything to destroy that investment.

Of course all these things must be accompanied by prayer and thanksgiving if they are to have their full effect. To have Jesus at the head and center of our relationships is the best bond of all; as we draw nearer to Him, we will naturally draw nearer to one another.

This leads to me ask of you dear reader, how are these arrows playing out in your own relationship with Jesus?

How is your communication with the Lord? Do you spend time in prayer and Bible reading, waiting to see what He might have to say to you through His Word or the prompting of His Spirit?

Are you communing with Jesus, basking in His presence and meditating on Him? Are you setting your affection on the things of heaven rather than things on this earth? (Col. 3:2)

We pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Are we working in cooperation with the Lord? Are we praying that the Lord of the harvest will send workers and are we willing to be the answer to our prayers if He calls us?

Are you spiritually improved from the state you were in a year ago? Are you climbing higher in devotion to the Saviour? Have you become so invested in Him that you are loathe to let anything come between Jesus and you? Is there a growing in grace where your life is being radically transformed into the image of Christ? (II Cor. 3:18)

Let us throw aside those things which hinder our earthly relationships and our heavenly relationship. Let us pray that by the grace of God our families will be healed, the church will turn its affection from man to Christ, and that our nation will be restored once more.


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