What do we all want? We long for relationships that are life-giving rather than life-taking. But having such relationships is hard work. It requires an attitude of selflessness in a self-absorbed world. And it requires resilience in a one and out society that believes weakness overlooks the injustice, while strength demands restitution and settles for nothing less than painful penance.
Resilience and selflessness both find a model in Jesus. He encounters opposition from friends and neighbors, the very ones we might think would be pulling for His success. Yet, He remains focussed on a mission that calls all–critic, consumer, and confessor to a kingdom breaking into the world. What resilience! Choosing Divine winning over human whining He also relegates self to second naming others, me, and you, FIRST.
This kind of resilience and selflessness makes space for several qualities in building strong relationships, whether speaking of marriage, dating, friends, or even with the cranky neighbor. Here are a few:
- Forgiveness in spite of monumental failures
- Mercy that provides a second chance for third time offenders
- Love that is given before performance is offered
- Joy that refuses to fade in the face of disappointment
- Peace that performs even while the smoke of chaos lingers in the air
Life-giving relationships demand that we lift our expectations for self. Make good choices. But, we have a model. Receiving begins with giving, being the life giver. I've heard it said that one person can change the relationship. Be the resilient one. Be the selfless one. Watch your relationships go to the next level!