My husband and I were recently in the greeting card section of a store and while browsing my eyes fell upon cards marked with headers to be given in situations like these: "For Troubled Relationships," "Marriage In Trouble," "I Wish I Could Take That Back," "I Wish I Knew How To Say This" and various other headings along the same lines.
I suppose I should not be stunned by anything anymore, but I was at seeing this. How far away from God's ideals in relationships have we come when we send greeting cards to communicate our thoughts in the midst of difficult times? Have we truly come to the place in society where we have forgotten (or never learned) how to discuss our problems? Aren't we teaching kids how to make a confession? What about courage and honor, and righteousness in people, does it exist anymore?
What are the marks of a healthy relationship?
- A healthy relationship has good communication. Good communication is both verbal and non-verbal, it is honest and open, it involves both listening and speaking. Communication involves exchanging ideas and thoughts in a respectful and truthful way.
Talking is the primary method of communication and is to be done in a way that honors God.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Col. 4:6 (NASB)
How much of your speaking is gracious? Does your speech reflect the Lord's working in your heart? We all know the incredible power of the tongue, Scripture reminds us how we can build and destroy with it (James 3) and that it must be kept under the control of the Holy Spirit. Your mouth must be in submission to the Holy Spirit if you are to speak graciously to others.
There are times when you will have to say something very difficult to someone you love. You may have to confront them on sin or make confession of your own sin to them. In either case, what you say and how you say it will make all the difference in the outcome.
- A healthy relationship contains trust. A belief that God will enable you to handle anything that must be addressed. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that we will be enabled by God to deal with various trials of many kinds. This means the many "multi-faceted" issues that are described as common to man. These would include everything from a confession of a little lie all the way to to adultery and murder.
If two people in a relationship have so little trust in each other that a "greeting" card is the only way to communicate difficult or humbling things to the other, well then, there are some very deep issues that must be dealt with beyond the presenting problem!
Trust is initially granted and then maintained as each person proves themselves worthy of it. Trust is deposited and withdrawn according to the honestly and faithfulness of a person. Even so, I cannot believe there is ever a situation that would require a married couple to give a card in place of a verbal confession or humbling apology. Not among us, not among God's people.
Our calling is much higher than that, we have a great and mighty Savior who has enabled us to overcome anything and everything this life has to throw at us. In the end, we will even overcome death!
Relationships with other sinners require a relationship with the living God. Without Him we will be unable to rightly relate to others. The cross is the answer to our deepest and greatest need, redemption from sin and spiritual death. If you do not know Him, seek Him. Learn about Him, and pray you will be found by Him.