Avoiding the Tangled Mess (from A Passion for Purpose)

Christmas is over, and it’s time to undo the tree. You dread the task of removing and storing those frustrating strings of lights. As you wrestle with the scrambled mess, you decide to lay the frustration aside to take a break. Days pass, and you continue to step over the tangled pile. Finally in desperation, you throw the jumble of lights in a box, expecting to feel more inclined to untangle the mess next Christmas when it’s time to trim the tree.

Next December rolls around. As you open the box and relive the frustration, you decide it’s easier to throw the lights away and start fresh this year. An hour later, you’re standing at the checkout counter pulling money out of your wallet for a large container of stringed lights, not tangled – yet.

Sometimes a relationship becomes a wearisome mess of tangles and knots. It’s no fun to stay the course and patiently work on restoring the relationship, one twist and turn at a time. However, if you lay the problems aside out of frustration, don’t be surprised if days or weeks later nothing has improved.

Should you ignore the mess, burying your problems and expecting to address them later? When those problems resurface, you may very well feel that it would be much easier simply to toss the relationship aside and start fresh with someone new. However, unlike a cheap string of lights, a relationship has value that cannot be replaced. The relationship a believer builds with another believer is a blessing from God to strengthen and encourage one another. Relationships with nonbelievers create a chord of communication through which the gospel can be shared with those who need Christ. Relationships are too valuable to toss aside when problems arise.

Relationships will have their frustrating moments, but God has given us the instruction to be active and diligent in maintaining harmony in our relationships: Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:14 NKJV)By following God’s instruction swiftly and prayerfully, we can keep a small tangle in a relationship from becoming an unmanageable knot.

Share your thoughts: what is your resolve for healthy and godly relationships in 2012?



Bringing the Light of Christmas To Japan

It looked like the twinkling landscape of any major American city square readied for Christmas. But we were far from home. We were in Japan.

I was standing on a corner of Fukuoka with my daughter, a friend and her daughter, and our male teammate as we beckoned people to come talk with us about the true meaning of Christmas. The dazzling display of Christmas lights was breathtaking, but those lightbulbs seemed dim in comparison…read more