Today's foundational scripture:
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful. ~ Col. 3:12-15 (NLT)There are some things we have to put on. The first key to a healthy relationship begins by doing the following things.
Put Your Clothes On!
Running around naked when kids are small is cute, but it's not that cute when they are twenty years old.
As we clothes ourselves, there is a deep inner working on the inside. Our heart impacts what we're wearing.
10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels. ~ Is. 61:10 (NLT)What is on the inside is what comes out. If you have anger and bitterness, that will come out.
The first thing we should clothe ourself with is MERCY.
We all deserve Hell. We're sinners, but God gave us mercy. Mercy means to withhold judgement or punishment. More specifically, we should show tenderhearted mercy.
Clothe Yourself With Kindness
When we express kindness, we are doing something that is helpful and useful to the relationship. We need to be more useful in our relationships.
Clothe Yourself with Humility
Humility means to come from the Earth or to be grounded. In our relationships, we don't need to show pride. Remember how little we are and how big God is. He will work through us.
What does God require of us?
8 No, O people, the LORD has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. ~ Micah 6:8 (NIV)If we did all of these things our relationships, churches, and country would be blessed.
Clothe Yourself with Gentleness
This means to show self-control. This means stop trying to control the other person in a relationship. When God is in control, we don't have to control others.
Albert Einstein said "Women marry men hoping they will change. Men marry women hoping they will not. So each is inevitably disappointed."
Clothe Yourself with Patience
This means the refusal to be upset. We have a long fuse. We need a lot more patience in our lives today.
All of these things are important for a healthy relationship. However, in the middle of verse 13, we have the key to a healthy relationship.
13 You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. ~ Col. 3:13 (NLT)In every relationship there are expectations and then behavior (reality). In between the two: Expectations and Behavior, there is a huge gap.
Where is that person that I was dating? I want that person back.
Often, we don't talk about those expectations before we go into a marriage.
What was modeled for you when you were younger? These are the influences that help create our expectations.
When Martha and Matt Fry were dating, they had a great time. They went to baseball games and just had fun. Then, they got married. It was then that he found out she wasn't that much of a baseball fan.
Matt tells the story of the first week of their marriage. While watching a baseball game, Martha grew tired and went to bed. It was a missed opportunity for Matt (the crowd laughs).
The problem was that Martha and Matt didn't discuss their expectations before the marriage. It doesn't matter if you and your mate were made for each other, there will still be a gap between expectations and reality (behavior).
There are a couple of things to fill in the gap.
The first thing is to "Believe the Best."
Believe the Best In the Other Person
In a healthy relationship, we must make allowances for the other person. If we don't do that than we can either "Assume the Worst." I knew that you weren't going to pay the bill. I knew that you were going to come home late from work.
The question is this, do we go negative first in our mind? If so, then we follow that with negative in our words. Doing this will destroy a relationship.
Nobody wants to feel that they don't measure up. This can create fear in the other person.
So, don't assume the worst but rather believe the best in others.
Whenever we believe in the best , we create a margin of acceptance. God loves you and accepts you the way you are. This helps to build faith and hope to your relationship. God sees your potential.
Remember, you cannot change your husband/wife. Only God can do that.
7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. ~ 1 Cor. 13:7 (NIV)We must also live in forgiveness if you've been offended
You can either forgive or live offended. Guess who loses when you live offended? You do. Life becomes bad for you because that's all you think about.
What should we put in the gap? Forgiveness.
Do you deserve forgiveness? No.
In a relationship, talk it out.
15 "If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the fault. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. ~ Matt 18:15-16 (NLT)Don't go to your friends, but go to the person who offended you. Do it immediately.
26 And "don't sin by letting anger gain control over you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, ~ Eph. 4:26 (NLT)In the beginning, it may not be that bad. However, over time it can continue to grow and fester.
Don't take the bait of Satan. Everybody has unmet expectations. Why? Because nobody is perfect. The question is this, will you continue to assume the worst and lived offended or believe the best and walk in forgiveness.
What path do you want to walk?
Nothing will speak louder to our culture than a healthy blessed marriage. To change the community, it begins with a healthy marriage and family.
If you take the bait of Satan, your marriage will only get worse.
Let's create a healthy relationship.
14 And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. ~ Col. 3:14 (NLT)
Clothe Yourself With Love
No strings attached kind of love.
3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever. 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. 6 It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. ~ 1 Cor. 13:3-7 (MSG)
10 This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. ~ 1 John 4:10 (NIV)Aren't you thankful that God loves and forgives you? Let's live in forgiveness. It's hard, but let's do it.
Do You Need A Fresh Start?
If you need hope or help. God wants you to know that he loves you. Jesus died and rose from the grave. If you would like to know Jesus as your savior then pray this prayer.
Dear God, I realize I've sinned and I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross and rising from the grave. Come in to my heart and save me. Thank you for giving me eternal and abundant life. Help me to live for you, for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name. Amen.To share your story, want more information about next steps, or just in need of prayer, please contact Pastor Matt Fry.