Five Indicators Of A Evil Heart! (Everyone, take five minutes to read this now, No excuses! Take a break.)

Five Indicators Of A Evil Heart

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As Christian counselors, pastors and people helpers we often have a hard time discerning between an evil heart and an ordinary sinner who messes up, who isn’t perfect, and full of weakness and sin.

I think one of the reasons we don’t “see” evil is because we find it so difficult to believe that evil individuals actually exist. We can’t imagine someone deceiving us with no conscience, hurting others with no remorse, spinning outrageous fabrications to ruin someone’s reputation, or pretending he or she is spiritually committed yet has no fear of God before his or her eyes

The Bible clearly tells us that among God’s people there are wolves that wear sheep’s clothing (Jeremiah 23:14Titus 1:10; Revelations 2:2). It’s true that every human heart is inclined toward sin (Romans 3:23), and that includes evil (Genesis 8:21James 1:4). We all miss God’s mark of moral perfection. However, most ordinary sinners do not happily indulge evil urges, nor do we feel good about having them. We feel ashamed and guilty, rightly so (Romans 7:19-21). These things are not true of the evil heart.

Below are five indicators that you may be dealing with an evil heart rather than an ordinary sinful heart. If so, it requires a radically different treatment approach.

  1. Evil hearts are experts at creating confusion and contention. They twist the facts, mislead, lie, avoid taking responsibility, deny reality, make up stories, and withhold information (Exodus 2:1Psalms 5:8; 10:7; 58:3; 109:2-5; 140:2; Proverbs 6:13,14; 6:18,19; 12:13; 16:20; 16:27, 28; 30:14; Job 15:35Jeremiah 18:18Nehemiah 6:8;Micah 2:1Matthew 12:34,35Acts 6:11-132 Peter 3:16).
  1. Evil hearts are experts at fooling others with their smooth speech and flattering words. But if you look at the fruit of their lives or the follow through of their words, you will find no real evidence of godly growth or change. It’s all smoke and mirrors (Psalm 50:19; 52:2,3; 57:4, 59:7; 101:7; Proverbs 12:5; 26:23-26; 26:28; Job 20:12Jeremiah 9:34; 12:6; Matthew 26:59Acts 6:11-13Romans 16:13,182 Corinthians 11:13,142 Timothy 3:2-5; 3:13; Titus 1:10,16).
  1. Evil hearts crave and demand control and their highest authority is their own self-reference. They reject feedback, real accountability and make up their own rules to live by. They use Scripture to their own advantage but ignore and reject passages that might require self-correction and repentance (Romans 2:8Psalms 10; 36:1-4; 50:16-22; 54:5,6; 73:6-9; Proverbs 21:24Jude 1:8-16).
  1. Evil hearts play on the sympathies of good-willed people, often trumping the grace card. They demand mercy but give none themselves. They demand warmth, forgiveness, and intimacy from those they have harmed with no empathy for the pain they have caused and no real intention of making amends or working hard to rebuild broken trust (Proverbs 21:101 Peter 2:16Jude 1:4).
  1. Evil hearts have no conscience, no remorse. They do not struggle against sin or evil, they delight in it, all the while masquerading as someone of noble character. (Proverbs 2:14-15; 10:23; 12:10; 21:27,29 Isaiah 32:6Romans 1:302 Corinthians 11:13-15).

If you are working with someone who exhibits these characteristics it’s important that you confront them head on. You must name evil for what it is. The longer you try to reason with them or show mercy towards them, the more you, as the Christian counselor, will become a pawn in his or her game.

They want you to believe that:

  1. Their horrible actions should have no serious or painful consequences. When they say, “I’m sorry”, they look to you as the pastor or Christian counselor to be their advocate for amnesty with the person they have harmed. They believe grace means they are immediately granted immunity from the relational fallout of their serious sin. They believe forgiveness entitles them to full reconciliation and will pressure you and their victim to comply.

The Bible warns us saying, “But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord (Isaiah 26:10).

The Bible tells us that talking doesn’t wake up evil people but painful consequences might. Jesus didn’t wake up the Pharisees with his talk nor did God’s counsel impact Cain (Genesis 4). In addition, the Bible shows us that when someone is truly sorry for the pain they have caused, they are eager to make amends to those they have harmed by their sin. (See Zacchaeus’s response when he repented of his greed in Luke 19.)

Tim Keller writes, “If you have been the victim of a heinous crime. If you have suffered violence, and the perpetrator (or even the judge) says, “Sorry, can’t we just let it go? You would say, “No, that would be an injustice.” Your refusal would rightly have nothing to do with bitterness or vengeance. If you have been badly wronged, you know that saying sorry is never enough. Something else is required¾some kind of costly payment must be made to put things right.” [1]

As Biblical counselors let’s not collude with the evil one by turning our attention to the victim, requiring her to forgive, to forget, to trust again when there has been no evidence of inner change in the one who has been practicing evil. Proverbs says, “Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips” (Proverbs. 25:19). It’s foolishness.

The evil person will also try to get you to believe

  1. That if I talk like a gospel-believing Christian I am one, even if my actions don’t line up with my talk. Remember, Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). He knows more true doctrine than you or I will ever know but his heart is wicked. Why? Because although he knows the truth, he does not believe it or live it.

The Bible has some strong words for those whose actions do not match their talk (1 John 3:17,18Jeremiah 7:8,10James 1:22, 26). John the Baptist said it best when he admonished the religious leaders: “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God (Luke 3:8).

If week after week you hear the talk but there is no change in the walk of that person, especially if you are also receiving feedback from the person who has been sinned against that there is continued covert harm, deceit, and manipulation, you have every reason to question that person’s relationship with God.

Part of our maturity as spiritual leaders is that we are to be trained to discern between good and evil. Why is that so important? It’s important because evil usually pretends to be good and without godly discernment we can be easily fooled (Hebrews 5:14).

When you confront evil, chances are good that the evil heart will stop counseling with you because the darkness hates the light (John 3:20) and the foolish and evil heart reject correction (Proverbs 9:7,8). But that outcome is far better than allowing the evil heart to believe you are on his or her side, or that “he’s not that bad” or “that he’s really sorry,” or “that he’s changing” when in fact, he is not.

Daniel says, “the wicked will continue to be wicked”, (Daniel 12:10), which begs the question, do you think an evil person can really change?

[1] Tim Keller, Jesus the King, page 172

Here is Leslie’s web site. You may be interested in these subject and want to go read.

http://www.leslievernick.com/five-indicators-of-a-evil-heart/ 

HERE ARE SOME MORE SUBJECT ON LESLIE’S WEB SITE !
DivorceCare.org (for souls in a body cast injury)
http://www.DivorceCareontheSunPorch.com
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READING LAWYERS…

I took an interest in this when I read all the many many explanations with in this email that was sent to me.  I like the “aggressive” words! If anyone uses them, let me know if you were or are happy with their aggression on YOUR behalf.

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Family Law Attorneys for Men (finally!)

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Recommeded Reading: Loving People How to Love & be Loved

Loving People: How to Love and Be Loved by [Townsend, John]

Your personal guide to learning how to love.

When you say or hear the words “I love you” it can change your life forever.   Love is one of God’s most important gifts to anyone, yet there are many misunderstandings about how to make love work in our families, friendships, marriages and dating relationships. In Loving People, best-selling author Dr. John Townsend shows you that love can actually be learned, and gives you the steps and tools to become skilled in love.

Using his trademark stories and illustrations to flesh out the important principles, Dr. Townsend covers:

  • receiving love
  • connecting love
  • healing love
  • confronting love
  • romantic love
  • surrendering love

Through his teaching, readers will discover – and start enjoying – the words, actions, and experiences of authentic love.

Recommended Reading: WHAT IS MY PURPOSE?

What Is My Purpose?: 8 Simple Steps to Find Your Purpose and Live a Life You Love (Finding Your Purpose Book) by [Foster, Simon]

What Is My Purpose?: 8 Simple Steps to Find Your Purpose and Live a Life You Love

Have you ever wondered if life has any meaning? Are you here just to survive a little? Is this life meaningless for you?

What if we were created for a purpose?

The ambition to discover the purpose of life is nearly as old as mankind. You have the striving desire to demonstrate yourself and others that you actually do have a purpose and that you are very good at it.

Unfortunately, many of us just waste our time wondering but never doing anything to discover life’s purpose or the true meaning of life.

Start taking action now and get the benefits of discovering your life purpose, the true meaning of your life and discover your personal mission.

By doing it you will start finally moving on the right direction to enjoy every second of a new self-designed meaningful life.

Recommended Reading: RUNAWAY EMOTIONS by Jeff Schreve

Runaway Emotions: Why You Feel the Way You Do and What God Wants You to Do About It by [Schreve, Jeff]

If we pay attention to the alarms in our lives, they could save us.

Worry. Anger. Loneliness. Negative emotions are uncomfortable by design. Like any good fire alarm, they alert us to a greater danger. But they won’t help us if we try to cover them up, hide them behind excuses, or assume they will always plague us.

The only healthy way to manage negative emotions is to find their source and address the problem that set them off. As pastor Jeff Schreve says, “A specific and compelling message can be found in each of your negative, painful emotions. God Himself is trying to speak to you through those emotions—right now.”

So what is God saying? How can we understand our emotions—even change them? Schreve shows how the truth of the Bible can make sense of our confusion. The power of the Holy Spirit can lead us to freedom, and Jesus Christ can give us true peace in the midst of any crisis.

You don’t have to let your emotions run away with you, your family, or your future.

Where Is God?: Finding His Presence, Purpose and Power in Difficult Times

Where Is God?: Finding His Presence, Purpose and Power in Difficult Times by [Townsend, John]

Hard times make us look for God.

Everyone has problems. But if we could solve all our difficulties ourselves, would we ever search for God? Psychologist John Townsend says “It is actually the very unfixability of our problems and our powerlessness to bring right results that keep us asking, ‘Where is God?'”

With a compelling narrative, Townsend offers new insights into the pursuit for God’s help and presence. Designed to give readers hope and meaning, he divides the discussion into three parts:

  • Why does a loving God allow us to experience difficulties?
  • How is God active in the middle of our hard times?
  • How can I find God?

With powerful stories and practical applications, Where Is God? assures readers that even when it feels as though God is absent it is his nature to be in relationship, to connect with, love, and guide us. And when we seek him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, he shows up in ways that transform us forever.

Breaking up with Perfect

Breaking Up with Perfect: Kiss Perfection Good-Bye and Embrace the Joy God Has in Store for You by [Carroll, Amy]

I have enclosed a review off of Amazon because it is well written and all encompassing.                  dl

4.0 out of 5 starsStudy section is the strength of this book

By Joan N. on July 7, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

We are supposed to be perfect, aren’t we? We women certainly feel the pressure to be perfect – the perfect wife, the perfect mom, the perfect women’s ministry leader.

But Carroll says being a perfectionist, trying to be perfect, means trouble. She helps us understand how it affects our relationships (including our relationship with God), how it leads to feelings of failure, and how it over burdens us with responsibility.

Breaking up with perfect is not easy, especially when it has been with us so long. It can only be done by the power of God. Carroll, a recovering perfectionist, knows what she writes about. She shares many of her own struggles from her journey.

I really like that she explains how our beliefs shape us. There are certainly ramifications for believing what is not true. She helps us see that we are to put relationships over our perfection drive. She also helps us find out what defines us and whether we are driven by looking for other people’s approval. I was really convicted when she talked about playing the blame game. I appreciate her clarifying being a perfectionist as opposed to the work of God perfecting us. She also unpacks the “be perfect” Scripture, helping us understand it.

The strength of this book is in the extensive study section at the end. The questions at the end of each chapter are good for discussion, but the questions in the end section really go deeper and require honest thinking. They are good for individual use or for discussion within a trusted group.

I like that Carroll admits she does not have it all together. In fact, she writes, “…my life is far from perfect. And, I’m okay with that … for the first time ever.” If you are struggling with the pressure to be perfect, I recommend this very readable and encouraging book.

Food for thought:
“Seeing ourselves correctly as both loved and sinful is key to ending our love affair with Perfect.”

I received a complimentary e-galley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Blindsided by God: Disappointment, Suffering, and the Untamable Goodness of God

Blindsided by God: Disappointment, Suffering, and the Untamable Goodness of God by [Chin, Peter]

It took thirty years to build Peter’s faith, but only three months to knock it down.

When Peter Chin moved his family into an inner-city neighborhood to plant a church, he was sure he was doing what God wanted. But in the span of a few months his family experienced a heartbreaking miscarriage, a break-in at their home, a breast cancer diagnosis, and the termination of their health insurance. Why would God allow these things to happen?

But God had one more surprise prepared for the Chins: a child, conceived in the most unlikely and dangerous of circumstances, through whom Peter would realize that although God’s ways were wild and strange, they were always good.

Filled with twists and turns, deep insights, and surprising humor, Blindsided by God explores the reality of suffering, the mystery of God’s ways, and why, even in the darkest times, there’s always reason for hope.

Lawyers other DivorceCare members submitted as good ones.

#1) Charles Rick,
Rick Linn LLC,

933 N. Charlotte Street
Suite 1-A
Pottstown, PA, 19464

Office (610) 850-9036;

#2) I recommend them especially if your trying to keep any assets that are rightly yours. The son, Daniel Sager is very good.

Jess

43 E High St
Sager & Sager Assoc
Pottstown, PA, 19464-5426

 

3) Alan Zeigler
532 Elm St.
Reading, Pa. 19601
610-374-8359
Oh and one more thing about him. One thing that I really like about him is how quickly he  gets back to me whenever I would call. It is almost always within 24 hours and that meant a lot to me because I would only call if it was something that I felt was very important.

 

Please, take a look at this link?

If you are a Christian, please look at this page and consider signing  on behalf of your brothers and sisters, in the Lord.
I can not imagine the terror and the horror, the severe pain, as bad or worse then ours going through the early days in divorce, a modern day holocaust worse than the Hitler organization,  doing unspeakable torments to these beloved human beings. Its Satanic!
Would you want someone to fight for you if you were in their shoes?  I would!
DeEtta

The Secret Me: A Questionnaire Journal Paperback –

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/1475111657/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

I chuckled when I saw this book and had to take a look inside of it over at Amazon. (see link above) I have heard quite a few of you say that you don’t know who you are, or what you want to do with yourself, now that you have time to be alone again. I suggest that this would be a “fun” way to start to get to know YOU!

For the Best in Christian Influence in the Home upon your children… or possibly a wayward spouse?

One of Two Best resources for “best practice” in Christian Family Living! ( 2nd is Family Life Today) Both in our listening area, found on WFIL 560 AM dial, as well as WBYN 107.5 FM dial, look at their program schedule. I thank God we still have freedom to choose what we wish to listen to in America. There is little excuse in America for not hearing the “truth” when radio is so accessible. Do you know about air-wave censorship across the ocean? Of course if you are Following someone else or absorbed in other media, one may miss out on the treasures found here!

 

Focus on the Family
Call 1-800-232-6459 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459)
FOCUSONTHEFAMILY.WEBCONNEX.COM

Awesome Gift Idea All Year for the Young & Elder too!

AS ALL OF YOU REALIZE, I RARELY “ASK” YOU TO LISTEN TO ANYTHING!
PLEASE LISTEN TO THIS. I HAVE MYSELF BOUGHT THE BIGGER BUNDLE, BUT THIS ISN’T A SALES PITCH, THIS IS ABOUT OUR CULTURE, WHAT SATAN IS DOING TO OUR KIDS VIA AMUSEMENT.
http://lamplighter.net/c/christmasfamilyspecial/
Last Sunday I heard this program… there are so many mom’s who are Spiritually sensitive, and a few Dad’s too… and I wished I could connect immediately with you and say, you have got to hear this guy! But, I couldn’t. So I have gone to great lengths, trying to search the radio programs for this in the archives, and finally I wrote to the speakers company itself. I not only heard from a worker there within less than 12 hours, today I received a note from the speaker himself. (you may read it below) This human knows the Word, and feels that “the day” is very soon coming for Jesus return…. This non-profit company is printing books and making CD’s to get God’s truth out there NOW… It is urgent! Pay attention to his definitions of words! This is most fascinating. We are like sheep! we are so easily lead by the “crowd”! We are allowing this Culture to take us into the la-la land of amusement, exactly as some of you have heard me say before…I am not gonna tell ya! YOU, have got to take a listen!! Hey there Grandma’s! …..Here is a low cost gift for the kids at Christmas this year but it is worth its weight in spiritually influential gold! And if you know any book lovers… get it for them too! As I said.. I am gonna read these books too! and wait until you read what Mark says to me in the end of his note! GO AHEAD… LISTEN NOW… TURN IT UP SO YOUR WHOLE HOUSE LISTENS!!!!!
HEY RICK! I have something here I want you to hear!

De Etta:
Thank you for contacting us. Someone may have already gotten back to you but I wanted to personally send you a note. We are not sure what program you listened to, but my hunch is that is was the broadcast from thie following link:”
http://lamplighter.net/c/christmasfamilyspecial/
This second link is from our daily radio broadcast. If it isn’t either of these, please let me know. The first one, I believe is the one you will want to share with you people.
Blessings to you! ps. if you ever need any recommendations about the books or audios, let me know. I love to connect people with the right story. And btw, most of our readers are adults!

Mark Hamby
President
www.lamplighter.net

Signs Your Partner is Too Controlling

Lisa Aronson Fontes, PhD Become a fan

University of Massachusetts Amherst SeniorLecturer & author, Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in YourIntimate Relationship

Signs YourPartner Is Too Controlling

Posted: 07/21/2015 8:57 amEDT Updated: 07/21/2015 8:59 am EDT

You have concerns about the qualityor health of your relationship. Maybe you feel bossed around, not as free asyou’d like, sometimes even insulted or humiliated. On bad days, you wonder whatyou’re doing together. But you remember good times and even now, on occasion,you feel loved. Your partner has probably told you thatyou are the problem, and you may wonder if it istrue. A careful assessment will help you see what’s going on–then you candecide what to do about it.

Below are a series of questions aboutsome of the controlling behaviors you may have experienced. (For a morecomplete list, please click here). Unhealthy domination by a partner is called coercive control. It’s more thanjust occasional nastiness or bossiness–it affects several areas of your lifeand causes you to change your behavior to keep the peace. You may be soaccustomed to some items on this list, they just feel like “the way itis.” Other items may seem extreme, and you may be relieved to realize thatyou do not face all of them:

• Does your partner try to isolate you and keep you away fromother people?

• Does your partner try to keep you from leaving the house,joining organizations, working, or furthering your education?

• Does your partner limit or monitor your phone conversations,social media use, email, or mail?

• Does your partner try to find outwhat you have done and where you have been in a way that feels like “toomuch?” Does your partner spy on you or stalk you?(Drawing by LizBannish)
• Does your partner try to control your personal activities, such as yourhobbies and interests and what you wear?

• Does your partner try to control your access to resources suchas money or transportation?

• Does your partner make you feel afraid by shouting, swearing,name-calling, or insulting you? In coercive control, this is one-sided andfrequent or extreme.

• Does your partner try to control aspects of your health orbody in ways that are harmful to you, such as making demands regarding your:eating or weight, sleeping, bathing, or using the bathroom? Does your partnertry to block you from taking prescription drugs that you need, going formedical care, seeing a therapist, or exercising?

• Does your partner push you to use substances such as street drugs,prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons, or more alcohol than you want?

• Does your partner push you to change your body in ways you’drather not, such as getting tattoos or piercings or cosmetic surgery?

• Does your partner push or force you sexually, and are youunable to speak your mind about sex? Does your partner push you to avoidpracticing safe sex? Does your partner push you to take sexual pictures orvideos?

• Does your partner block your efforts to separate or leave therelationship?

• Does your partner block your efforts to speak about thingsthat matter to you?

• If you have children in your lives, does your partner try tocontrol or harm your relationship with the children?

• Does your partner throw, kick or punch things, slam doors orstomp around to intimidate you? Does your partner grab or push you, get in yourface, corner you, or pin you against a wall?

• Does your partner refuse to speak with you for long periods oftime?

• Does your partner threaten you?

• Does your partner hurt you physically? Does your partnerthreaten you with guns or other weapons? Does your partner threaten suicide?

• Does your partner punish you or deliberately harm you?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions,which ones are the most upsetting to you? Which frighten you the most? If you haveanswered “yes” to some but not all, you may still be in arelationship of coercive control. For instance, some people control theirpartners without physical violence.

Not all the questions on this list are created equal. Responding”yes” to one question, such as “Does your partner threatenyou?” may be enough reason for you to end your relationship today.Responding “yes” to a question about whether your partner tries tocontrol what you eat or how you spend money may not. Or it may. Only you candecide the reasons to maintain or end the relationship.

There is no one right way to score this list. Unfortunately, youcannot simply add up the items, arrive at a total and say to yourself, “Myrelationship is okay” or “My relationship is overly controlling and Ihave to change it” or “I must end this relationship.” Thesedecisions are too individual for that kind of numerical process. But I hopethese questions help you think about whether you’re a victim of coercivecontrol. Then, you can decide what to do next.

Many people stick with their partners for months, years anddecades, waiting for them to change. Remember, past behavior is the bestpredictor of the future. Without some intense intervention, most controlling partnerswill not change. Try to be hopeful about the possibility of freedom in your future, whether thatfreedom takes the form of improving or ending the relationship.

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RelationshipsDomestic ViolenceCoercive ControlCouplesVerbal AbuseIntimate Partner ViolenceDatingViolence Against Women

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Niceness Isn’t Always Nice!

The price of always being nice …

  1. The “nice” person tends to create an atmosphere that keeps others from giving honest feedback. This limits growth.
  1. The “nice” behavior leaves uncertainty in others in that they can not be sure of support in crisis situation that demand candor or in confrontation with others.
  1. “Nice” behavior stifles growth by depriving others level feedback and a “real” person to relate to.   This tends to force others to turn their aggression inward against themselves.   Guilt and depression can follow.
  1. The chronic “niceness” leaves others uncertain whether the relationship could withstand a conflict or sustain angry, spontaneous, confrontation.   Intimacy is limited by a felt need to be constantly on guard.
  1. “Nice” guys are more subject to periodic rage explosions, which erupt unexpectedly when others are unprepared for it.
  1. Physical ills can abound!

Therefore, it’s not nice to play nice!!!

Wired For Love part 1, like it? Listen at: http://www.sdrock.com/messages/2011-09-25/

MESSAGE PART (below ) part 2 on this video link: http://www.sdrock.com/messages/2011-09-25/

Wired For Love – Part 1, Wired for Relationships
MILES MCPHERSON – SEPTEMBER 18, 2011
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MESSAGE RECAP
This week marks the beginning of a new series entitled, “Wired for Love,” in which Pastor Miles will talk about how God created us to love and be loved.

In Genesis, God creates the earth in various stages, after which He states, “It is good.” But there was only one thing during creation (prior to sin’s entry into the world) that God claimed was “not good.”

And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18

It is not good for man to be alone because God created man with the capacity and desire for relationship.

1. God designed or ‘wired’ us to enjoy what He enjoys – loving relationships.
Why did God create man? He wasn’t lonely; He had the Trinity. He didn’t need us to worship Him; He had the angels worshiping him long before we came into the picture. He didn’t create us to glorify Him; He already had glory. God created man so that we could enjoy what He has – loving relationships.

God models loving relationship for us in the Trinity, the three persons of God who all have different functions and roles, yet are united in One God.
In John 17:21-23, Jesus prays to the Father, “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”

God models loving relationship for us in the Trinity, the three persons of God who all have different functions and roles, yet are united in One God. (See Genesis 1:26, John 3:16, John 7:16, John 16:13, John 17:1, John 16:14.) The Father sent the Son and the Son sends the Holy Spirit. Together they design and execute the plan of salvation, and they all point to each other and give one another glory.

God desires for us to have loving relationships with each other and with Himself. We can miss this fact if we get caught up in religion. Life with God is about relationship, and He wants to be involved in all of your earthly relationships, everywhere you go, in every area of your life.

2. Our design or ‘wiring’ actively seeks to live in loving relationships.
A relationship is defined as an interdependence between people where equal give-and-take exists…

If God commanded you to love, he must have designed you to love. We seek out what God created for us.

The human body has many different intricate systems (digestive system, skeletal system, endocrine system), including various brain systems. One of these is the relationship/bonding system, which constantly asks two questions:

Am I loveable?
Is love available to me?/Am I accepted by this group of people?
As a child you develop a sense of how to give and receive love, and sometimes this develops a pattern of falseness because you have learned that you will not be loved or accepted unless you do certain things or act a certain way. Whatever you learned in your relationship system, you will have the same pattern and expectations with God, because that’s what you know. (That doesn’t mean you can’t improve or re-learn how to love and be loved with God’s help.)

Our relationship system works in a very specific way because we were creative to love and be loved. Unlike animals, who can live among humans and never encounter another of their kind, people cannot live without love and human interaction; humans left to themselves will die. Don’t take these systems for granted. They have been given to you for a very specific reason – to enable you to have relationship.

3. God Himself is the ultimate satisfaction of our search for a loving relationship.
Pastor Miles shared that when he and his wife Debbie started dating, their relationship was a mess for the first few years. Miles finally came to a point where he realized that he needed to love Debbie better than he was able to, and only God could help him with that. We all have relationships that are not reaching their loving potential because we have not fully tapped into God’s love.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8

God not only loves and gives love; He is love. If you want to get back to the way God wants us to love, just start giving it selflessly! Don’t give out of selfish ambition or to get credit for how great you are. Relationships are not meant for manipulation, but for selfless love. You can’t get to that point unless you have the love of God in you. Ask Him today what relationships you need to surrender to Him and allow His love to flow through you.

A Mess Worth Making by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp

RELATIONSHIPS
Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
By Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp

CBN.com – Your best friend is suddenly cool and distant. Your spouse can’t stop complaining about your bad habits. Your son refuses to talk to you. What are you supposed to do?

Plans A, B, and C might be to shut down, lash out, or get out. But consider Plan D: Recognize that God has the last word on those messy, conflict-ridden relationships. He can use them to make you into someone who can give and receive love—with God and others.

In their book, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, authors Tim Lane and Paul Tripp explore the stubborn problems that plague many close relationships. They offer these eight observations to help readers understand relationships and how God uses them in our lives.

You were made for relationships.

This fact takes us back to the beginning. It asks the basic questions, “Who are we, and how important are our relationships?” In Genesis 2:18, God says that it is not good for man to be “alone.” God created us to be relational beings because he is a social God. God lives in community within the Trinity as Father, Son, and Spirit, and he made humanity in his image. Genesis 2 is not speaking primarily to Adam’s experience of being lonely as much as it is revealing his nature as the person God created him to be. Because God created a communal being – someone designed for relationships – creation is incomplete without a suitable companion. While Genesis 2 does address how male and female complement each other, the implications are broader to include all human relationships. In addition, the word “helper,” used here for Eve, speaks throughout scripture of the complementary nature of all human relationships. “Helper” is used primarily to describe a companion, not a fellow laborer.

The reason we know this is true is that the word “helper” is often used to describe God’s relationship with his people. When used this way, it does not refer to God as our coworker or employee, but God as our ultimate companion, who brings things to the relationship that we could not bring ourselves (Ps. 27:9; 33:20-22). So God is not addressing Adam’s workload but rather the fact that he is a social being who lacks a suitable companion. Just as human beings were created with a vertical need for God’s companionship, they are also created for the horizontal companionship of other people.

In some way, all relationships are difficult.

While the first fact is exciting, we still have to deal with reality. All of our relationships are less than perfect. They require work if they are going to thrive. Quickly on the euphoric heels of Genesis 2 comes Genesis 3, where the entrance of sin brings frustration and confusion into relationships. In Genesis 3, man and woman engage in accusation and slander. Genesis 4 gets even worse, with a man murdering his own brother.

While many of us have not committed murder, we still live on the continuum between murder, accusation, and blame. No wonder our relationships are so messy! Our struggle with sin is constantly revealed in them. If you want to enjoy any progress or blessing in your relationships, it will require you to admit your sin humbly and commit yourself to the work they require.

Each of us is tempted to make relationships the end rather than the means.

When we reflect on Genesis 1-3, it becomes clear that the primary relationship Adam and Eve were intended to enjoy was their relationship with God. This vertical communion with God would provide the foundation for the horizontal community they were to have with each other. Everything God made pointed Adam and Eve to the primacy of their relationship with him. All of creation was to function as an arrow pointing to God. But in our sin we tend to treat people and creation as more important. The very things God created to reveal his glory become instead the glory we desire. We settle for the satisfaction of human relationships when they were meant to point us to the perfect relational satisfaction found only with God. The irony is that when we reverse the order like this and elevate creation above Creator, we destroy the relationships God intended – and would have enabled – us to enjoy.

There are no secrets that guarantee problem-free relationships.

We all look for strategies or techniques that will free us from the pain of relationships and the hard work good relationships demand. We hope that better planning, more effective communication, clear role definitions, conflict resolution strategies, gender studies, and personality typing – to name just a few – will make the difference. There may be value in these things, but if they were all we needed, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection would be unnecessary or, at best, redundant.

Skills and techniques appeal to us because they promise that relational problems can be fixed by tweaking our behavior without altering the bent of our hearts. But the Bible says something very different. It says that Christ is the only real hope for relationships because only he can dig deep enough to address the core motivations and desires of our hearts.

At some point you will wonder whether relationships are worth it.

At some point, each of us will become discouraged and disappointed with a relationship. The health and maturity of a relationship are not measured by an absence of problems, but by the way the inevitable problems are handled. Because human conflict is the result of the spiritual battles in our hearts, wise relationships always seek to be aware of that deeper struggle. Even in times of peace, you must be vigilant regarding the way your relationships can be hijacked by the underlying desires of your hearts, which are subtly and constantly shifting.

How do you deal with relational disappointments? Do you blame, deny, run away, avoid, threaten, and manipulate? Or do you speak the truth, exhibit patience, approach people gently, ask for and grant forgiveness, overlook minor offenses, encourage and honor others? Let’s admit that these questions touch us where we live from day to day. True Christian maturity does not get any more practical and concrete!

God keeps us in messy relationships for his redemptive purpose.

This sixth fact reminds us that the very thing we would naturally seek to avoid is what God has chosen to use to make us more like him! Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t just make your relationships better overnight? We often think that if God really cared for us, he would make our relationships easier. In reality, a difficult relationship is a mark of his love and care. We would prefer that God would just change the relationship, but he won’t be content until the relationship changes us too. This is how God created relationships to function.

What happens in the messiness of relationships is that our hearts are revealed, our weaknesses are exposed, and we start coming to the end of ourselves. Only when this happens do we reach out for the help God alone can provide.

While we would like to avoid the mess and enjoy deep and intimate community, God says that it is in the very process of working through the mess that intimacy is found.

The fact that our relationships work as well as they do is a sure sign of grace.

One of the biggest impediments we face in relationships is our spiritual blindness. We frequently do not see our sin, nor do we see the many ways in which God protects us and others from it. God constantly protects us from ourselves by restraining our sin. We are a lot like Elisha’s servant in 2 Kings 6:15-22. He was overwhelmed by the enemy army that surrounded him until God opened his eyes to see the far more formidable army of angels God had sent to protect him. Why was it that the servant could see only the enemies surrounding Israel but not “the hills full of horses and chariots of fire” from the Lord? It was the spiritual blindness of unbelief.

How do you measure your potential in relationships? Do you measure the size of the problems or the magnitude of God’s presence in your midst? Considering our sin, it is amazing that people get along at all! Each night, the evening news begins with a litany of murders, rapes, and robberies that suggest that your community is a very dangerous place. Yet it fails to cite the thousands of good things people do to make that same community livable. Our view of our relationships can be just as slanted. We tend to see sins, weaknesses, and failures rather than the good things God is accomplishing. If you look for God in your relationships, you will always find things to be thankful for.

Scripture offers a clear and attractive hope for our relationships.

Does the challenge and mess of relationships leave you discouraged? Does the biblical honesty about human community shock you? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the hard work relationships require? If so, you are ready for this last fact: The shattered relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at the cross provides the basis for our reconciliation. No other relationship ever suffered more than what Father, Son, and Holy Spirit endured when Jesus hung on the cross and cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus was willing to be the rejected Son so that our families would know reconciliation. Jesus was willing to become the forsaken friend so that we could have loving friendships. Jesus was willing to be the rejected Lord so that we could live in loving submission to one another. Jesus was willing to be the forsaken brother so that we could have godly relationships. Jesus was willing to be the crucified King so that our communities would experience peace. In his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus brought reconciliation in two fundamental ways. Jesus reconciled us to God, which then becomes the foundation for the way he reconciles us to one another. When God reigns in our hearts, peace reigns in our relationships.

This work will only be complete in heaven, but there is much we can enjoy now. The New Testament offers hope that our relationships can be characterized by things like humility, gentleness, patience, edifying honesty, peace, forgiveness, compassion, and love. Isn’t it wonderful that God’s grace can make this possible even for sinners in a fallen world! This hope challenges whatever complacency and discouragement we might have about our relationships because there is always more growth, peace, and blessing that God’s grace can bring, even here on earth.

Purchase your copy of Relationships: A Mess Worth Making

Adapted from Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp. Used by permission of New Growth Press, Greensboro, North Carolina, http://www.newgrowthpress.com. Article provided courtesy of The B&B Media Group.