By Dan Qurollo
Because Valentine’s Day occurs in February, it seems that much of the month of February focuses on love and relationships. As part of relationships, it is inevitable that we will experience hurt at some point. The Bible has a tremendous amount of material devoted to establishing godly relationships. Proverbs is filled with warnings regarding associating with ungodly and foolish individuals, including those who are given to anger (Proverbs 22:24), drunkards and gluttons (Proverbs 23:20-21), and the immoral (Proverbs 5:8, 7:25). The Bible also teaches certain principles that are to govern our relationships.
Matthew 18 clearly establishes the biblical principle of how we are to respond when we are wronged. Unfortunately, few people actively take the steps necessary to restore relationships. Beginning in Matthew 18:15, we find the instruction that an individual who has wronged us is to be approached privately. The issue is not to be ignored nor openly discussed. Instead, the matter is a private matter that is to be resolved between those two individuals exclusively. Many Christians fail at this point. Matthew 18:16-17 contains additional steps if the issue is unable to be resolved privately.
An additional message that establishes godly relationships is contained in Ephesians 4. According to Ephesians 4:25-32, our relationships are to be characterized by the truth (4:25). Furthermore, anger must not be allowed to continue but must be restored lest an opportunity be given to Satan (4:26-27). Unresolved anger opens the door for Satan; therefore, anger must not be tolerated. Furthermore, relationships are to be characterized by honesty and sacrificial giving (4:28). Corrupt communication should never characterize relationships; rather, the only communication should be that which seeks to edify and minister grace to those who hear (4:29). We must avoid grieving the Holy Spirit of God (4:30). Rather than allowing our relationships to be characterized by the works of the flesh, we must instead exercise kindness and forgiveness (4:31-32). Godly relationships are such that bring honor and glory to Him.
God places a premium on being sure that our relationships are what they should be. Matthew 5:23-24 teach, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” We must seek to establish relationships that honor and glorify God.