The Romans Road to Right Relationships
[How to Get Along With Anyone]
Raise your hand if you have no relationships in your life. No one?
This whole chapter is a gold mine of helps, and it has taken us more than a dozen messages to cover, including the spiritual gifts...so now, just a brief review and overview from the bird's eye perspective.
Relationships can be the best thing ever...and also the worst. How can we have the best?
As we began chapter 12, we threw a big rock into the middle of a placid pond. This is Relationship Pond, and when we toss the stone into the bulls’ eye center, ripples occur, which form rings outward, one by one...many of them...and every relationship in our lives should be affected when we take the plunge and get saved.
It begins in the middle with our relationship with God in the first 2 verses, and then spans out to fellow believers and family members close by [vv. 4-8], and on to strangers, the lost, enemies, and difficult people in the world. [vv. 9-21] In chapter 13, the ripple rings reach out to our relationship with government and all ordained authority over us. We'll look at that next time.
How can we have the best in our relationships?
1. Surrendered to Christ – v. 1, 2 “living sacrifice”
“Have I given up and let God have this relationship?”
In the OT, there were dying sacrifices that they had to tie to the altar. A living sacrifice is still laid on the altar, and is willing for it all to come to an end, though it doesn't usually have to end.
None of our horizontal relationships can be truly good until our vertical relationship w/ our Creator is correct. From Him we learn real love and unconditional acceptance, forgiveness, and as we draw closer to Him at the apex of the pyramid we are drawn closer to one another.
It was a powerful day in college chapel when the speaker said, "…don’t look for the right one, be the right one, and you’ll get the right one”
I was looking, and so was a girl named Kim Barlow. We both stopped looking and then we found, and it's been bliss ever since! [aren't you naive!] Well, we're still married!
Surrendered means we leave it all in God's hands, instead of taking into our own.
2. Sober in your importance – v. 3, 16 “think soberly”/ “be not wise in your own conceits”
“Who am I really, in God’s sight?”
Conceit is similar to deceit...don't deceive yourself. Many live in a fantasy world of who they want to make themselves out to be [Facebook / eye service].
This is why we had someone else take the Spiritual gifts test 'as if' they were us...let them be our mirror.
Ego=who I think I am
Reputation=what others think I am
Character=who God knows I am
Our world puts all the importance upon the first two, and not the last one.
3. Satisfied with everyone’s gifts – vv. 4-8 “not the same office”
“Do I understand their gift to the body of Christ?”
Many whom we call difficult are just different. But what if everyone was just like you? Personalities vary. But every weakness you so easily spot in another has a correlating strength to it. We balance each other out.
So, climb inside the head of those different from you, if that's not too scary. Men and women are different, so we should try to learn how the other thinks.
4. Sincere with your affections – v. 9 “let love be without dissimulation…” [say what you mean]
“Do I desire to give or get from this individual?”
No hypocrisy...say what you mean. [backhanded compliments/passive aggressiveness]
5. Submissive to others – v. 10, 16 “in honor preferring one another”/ “be of the same mind one toward another”
“Am I willing for them to get the honor?”
The same passage which says wives are to submit tells us all to submit to one another.
I've demanded that my wife submit before, and after a few minutes and smelling salts I came to, and got back up a better man!
Once one submits the other responds in kind.
6. Servant in your responsibilities – v. 11 “Not slothful in business”
“Am I fulfilling my responsibilities right now?”
Submission is an attitude, service is the action. Usually relational troubles come when we have our eyes so much on the other person that we lose sight of ourselves. We can see the tiny speck in their eye and miss the telephone pole of faults in our own eye.
Mind your own business...take care of you. [we tell our kids that, and here God tells all His kids that we need to grow up too!]
It's easy to spot faults that we share, because we have them too. "I can spot a liar a mile away!" It takes one to know one.
7. Steadfast in time of trouble – v. 12 “patient in tribulation”
“Am I willing to endure being hurt for the opportunity to be right with another?”
Steadfast, unmovable, faithful, don't give up!
Never make a big decision [life altering/God's will] when upset.
Sometimes saying nothing is the right thing. If I say something right now it will be bad...but don't permanently clam up or you'll blow up...but it's ok to temporarily shut up!
Don't get distracted to the left or right. We put up walls to protect ourselves. We want to take things into our own hands and manhandle the situation and 'fix it'.
ill.--waking up, feeling like someone has been watching me, rolling over, and my son's face is right there, point blank!
You know how you can feel tension in the air, or how communication can travel subliminally...you sense something is not right? What do you do? Wait for them to make the first move, or suffer loss yourself and take the initiative.
Be steadfast. Abide in the vine [Jn. 15] and hang on in the tough times.
8. Sacrificing of your time and treasures – v. 13, 20 “Distributing to the necessity of saints…”/ “if thine enemy hunger…” [kill w/ kindness]
“Do I have anything that can help this person?”
Why should I be good to someone I'm on the rocks with? Because I don't want it to be rough!
Now we're going deeper into who the person truly is...why might they be hurting? It's the root, not the fruit we should deal with. This root is why they are acting out the way they are.
9. Sweet in your responses – v. 14 “…bless and curse not.” [filter verse]
“Is my verbal response true, necessary, and kind?”
Nothing backhanded, or for mixed motives.
Ever noticed that you can say about anything you want about a 3rd person if you follow it up with 'bless their heart.'
"He's dumb as a post, bless his heart."
"The poor thing, she's just homely, bless her heart!"
ill.--dad cut off someone in traffic, and they gestured in sign language at him. He just smiled and waived!
Gossip is true, but is it necessary? How about kind? It's not just what we say, but how we say it.
My filter verse:
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Some things I've planned to say and it even felt good to plan it out in advance can't pass the filter.
It's not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what comes out.
Understand that? Bless your heart!
10. Sympathetic with your feelings – v. 15 “rejoice…weep”
“Have I tried to understand from their perspective?”
We are so focused on ourselves and our own feelings. It would do us a lot of good to walk in another's shoes.
11. Shameless in your reactions – v. 17, 18 “Recompense to no man evil for evil”
“Am I a part of the problem?”
Don't take the bait.
"Did I just say that?" Is it too late to take it back?
We can't change other's actions, but we can our reactions.
12. Silent with your defense – v. 19 “…avenge not yourselves…”
“Is it more important to win the argument or to be right with the person?”
It takes two to fight. A bully will find you boring if he can't get a rise out of you. If your 'buttons' which they push don't seem to be functioning, they move on to someone else!
Let God be your defender. In court, what is usually true of those who won't accept a defender and want to defend themselves? They are guilty, have no case, and are going to lose!
"I want to talk about what my enemy did wrong. If I bring the Lord into this He may bring up what I've done wrong."
There's a wonderful peace when we make a wrong right...the burden is lifted, and the air is clear, and you can take a fresh breath of it and the tension in your neck goes away, and all is good in your world!
13. Strong in your desire to get along with others - v. 21 “overcome evil with good”
“Will I do right no matter the cost to my pride?”
Some want there to be a problem, and they can always have that if they want it. The same is true in reverse...if you have a strong desire for things to be good they can be!
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