Everyone has a story to tell. When we make the connection between our story and God's great story, we come away with HIStory, which involves each and every one of us.
There I was, faced with a harsh reality that relationships are far too often painful and complicated. So much work and so tolling on your emotions. Are you ever weighed down by the relationships in your life? The reality is that all facets of our lives include relationships. We are not a one man’s island with a population, “me.” We do life with family, friends, acquaintances, strangers and might I admit, even those who oppose us. In every area of our lives we encounter relationships and some are far more problematic than others.
There are days and sometimes weeks, months and even years where the dynamics within those relationships become conflicting and far from harmonious. And sometimes those conflicts can occur in more than one area of our lives. There appears to be a simultaneous and cataclysmic failure in our relationships. A conspiracy of sorts is what it feels like.
Well, let me shed some light on this reality. Jesus knew problematic and conflicting relationships better than anyone. He received opposition from every direction: from the Jews, the Romans, everyday people from both sides. He heard accusations, condescension and ridicule. Yet He responded kindly and truthfully. Sometimes He was slow to speak and other times He was quick to admonish - ever so wisely and with impeccable timing.
If we are to learn from Jesus and His example, may we let His Word come and breakthrough our hearts. In Philippians, Paul reminds us how we are to live among our family, our brothers and sisters in Christ as a reminder of being united with Christ:
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ,
if any comfort from his love,
if any common sharing in the Spirit,
if any tenderness and compassion,
then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus...
So Christ in us: His mind, His Spirit, His love, to pour over those we are in relationship with, being like-minded, Christ-minded. Not acting in self-centeredness but in Christ-centeredness. Walking humbly and placing others first in our lives. This is mind blowing. To live this way is to live like Christ. Because when we face our opposers, we have the strength and love to respond kindly and truthfully as Jesus did. Because when we are like-minded with our family in Christ, we are supported, and strengthened to withstand opposition in this world.
So embrace your brothers and sisters in Christ. Work towards harmony today and settle any conflict or dispute. Then gather around today in unity with Christ and pray and love over each other. Then pray together over your opposers.
As my sister reminded me this week, what can be more important than loving and making time for those we love?
United with Christ,
Damaris U. Avila lives with her loving husband and their two inquisitive and sweet girls. Through personal storytelling, she invites women to share and see themselves in God's story. She leads young girls through BeYOUtiful Girl Time, a sisterhood where girls are encouraged to become the women God designed them to be.
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."