What Goes Around

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We reap what we sow. Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” This one is all over scripture. We’ve all heard the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31), treat others like you want to be treated. But rarely are we told the reason. Growing up, I always thought it was just one of those “must do because it’s the right thing” things.

But the truth is, even from a selfish point-of-view, we want to do this. Because we reap what we sow. Give into the relationship what you want to get out of it. People will treat us the way we treat them. This concept is actually getting a little traction in the culture with the phrase, “Pay it forward.” Or how about the bumper sticker I’ve seen so often, “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” Or to put it more bluntly, “What goes around comes around.” See, even the world has figured this one out!

So what about when I sow kindness and mercy and people give me crap? What about when I’m nice and people are still jerks to me? Huh? What about that?!? Wow, then you’re very lucky. Because then, God makes up the difference, because you’re being like him. He will be kind and merciful and gentle and understanding to you. He will “pay it forward” to you. And that’s way better than any person could ever do anyway.

And if you’re really lucky, he’ll pay you back in the currency of intimacy with him. There are no greater riches.

Has this worked for you? Tell us your story in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.

Honoring Authority

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Honor is the currency of the Kingdom of God. “Honor your father and mother … that it may go well with you” (Deuteronomy 5:16) goes way beyond honoring your father and mother. It applies to authority in every area of our life – our work, our school, our church, everything.

So how do you handle a difficult boss? A difficult professor? Honor them. The authorities in our life have been put there by God for our good, whether they realize it or not. God will bless us in that situation based on our own actions, not based on good the authority figure was at being an authority. God holds them accountable for that.

God will hold them accountable for whether or not they were a good authority figure. God will hold us accountable for whether we honored them or not – regardless of whether or not they were a good authority figure.

So if you have a difficult boss or teacher, ask the Holy Spirit how you can honor them (in a godly way) in which they will feel honored. That’s a prayer the Holy Spirit will always answer. Then if you make it your life-style to honor that authority figure by following the Holy Spirit’s prompting, God will make sure it goes well with you in that area of life, whether the difficult authority person does or not.

Have you tried this? Did it work for you? What was your experience? Please tell us in the comments. If you’d like to tell us about on on-going difficult situation, feel free to shoot us an email (click “Contact Us”). We’d love to hear from you and pray with you.

Honoring Parents

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One of the basic principles God has woven into the fabric of the universe involves the very first relationship we ever had – the one with our parents. “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 5:16) This one is so important it made the Ten Commandments. And it’s the first commandment with an explicit blessing (Ephesians 6:2).

Honor is the currency of the Kingdom of God. In whatever area we honor our parents in, we’ll be blessed – it will go well with us. That’s a promise from God. But the reverse is also true – in whatever area we do not honor our parents in, it will not go well with us.

There’s no age limit given in the commandment. Even as an adult living on our own, there’s still a blessing for honoring our parents. We can still make our own decisions. But we should listen to them, and prayerfully consider what they say, even if we think they don’t know what they’re talking about. Just because they’re not experts, or even knowledgeable, about the domain they’re giving us advice about, doesn’t mean it’s not from God. God often speaks through parents, especially godly ones, even in stuff they know nothing about. The Holy Spirit is giving us wisdom through them – it will go well with us if we listen, and it will not go well with us if we don’t. Ask God how to apply what they’ve said.

What if they’re abusive? We don’t have to submit ourselves to unsafe situations. We can set healthy boundaries, and they don’t have to like them. Just because they accuse us of being dishonoring doesn’t mean we are. But there are healthy boundaries within which we can honor our parents, whether they deserve that honor or not. In an abusive situation, please ask a Christian counselor and your Pastor to help you set healthy boundaries.

A very common form of dishonoring our parents is holding judgements against them in our hearts. We need to release ourselves from that judgement by forgiving our parents – accepting that they are not the evil they did to us. We can acknowledge that they did evil to us, whether they admit it or not. But we release them from owing us anything – we claim Jesus’ sufferings as payment in full for the wrong they did against us.

If this is helpful, please share it with the social media buttons below so someone else can be blessed. And share your story with us, either in the comments below or a private message (click the “Contact Us” link in the menu bar). We’d love to hear from you and pray with you.

The Physics of Relationships

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Believe it or not, relationships are like physics. There are certain laws God’s woven into the fabric of the universe, certain principles at work whether we realize it or not, whether we believe in them or not.

Gravity can be a tremendous blessing or a terrible curse. If you jump off your house, you’ll find it’s a curse that brings you pain and a sudden stop. But if used correctly, like an airplane does, it can be a tremendous blessing, allowing us to travel huge distances in relatively little time. And gravity is always operating, whether we decide to believe in it or not.

God’s laws of relationships are the same way. He set them up to bring us tremendous blessing, but if we attempt to disregard them, they will bring us terrible pain. Here are the four basic laws of relationships:

1) Honor your parents (Deuteronomy 5:16 and Ephesians 6:2). This one is so important, it made the Ten Commandments. The currency in the Kingdom of God is honoring. Basically, in whatever area you honor your parents in, it will go well with you. That’s a promise from God. And in whatever area you do not honor your parents in, it will not go well with you.

2) You reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7). Even the secular world has figured this one out. Ever heard the phrase, “what goes around, comes around”? You can get whatever you want from relationships. Give to the other what you want, and the byproduct is it’ll come back to you.

3) Don’t judge or you’ll be judged (Matthew 7:1). This is talking about judging people, not actions. We get into trouble when we judge another person instead of (or in addition to) their actions. The other person is not the evil they did to us.

4) We become what we judge (Romans 2:1). When we judge another person, we condemn ourselves to do the same thing. Ever say, “I’ll never be like my parents and do that.” Guess what happens? We find ourselves doing the exact same thing, because we judged them for doing it.

We’ll talk about each of these in more detail in the next several posts. But what do you think? Do you have any doubts about any of these? (#4 was originally hard for me to accept.) Or have you seen these in operation? Tell us in the comments. And if you think this post would help somebody else, please share it.