Your words and the manner in which you speak are critical to harmonious relationships. As you learn to speak the truth in love, you must also determine when to speak, how to speak in an edifying manner, and to whom you should speak. The power of your words is enormous, and they also show the condition of your heart. Even your idle words will be accounted for in the Day of Judgment.
The difference in result between forgiveness that responds to repentance and forgiveness independent of the repentance of the offending party is, of course, that the former pattern issues in reconciliation while the latter does not. But in both cases what is presupposed is that the believer forgives the offender. Transparently, reconciliation is a good thing if it can be achieved, but the goal of reconciliation should not become the cloak for nursing bitterness because it cannot be achieved.
Our relationship with our fellows and our relationship with God are so linked that we cannot disturb one without disturbing the other. Everything that comes between us and another, such as impatience, resentment or envy, comes between us and God. These barriers are sometimes no more than veils – veils through which we can still, to some extent, see. But if not removed immediately, they thicken into blankets and then into brick walls, and we are shut off from both God and our fellows, shut in to ourselves.
Frankly, the deepest pain you’ll ever know and the deepest pain I’ll ever know is not physical. It’s not material. It doesn’t have to do with our physical body and it doesn’t have to do with our material or economic or circumstantial life patterns. The greatest pain we will ever know is relational. It is the potential of people to devastate us, to destroy us, to abuse us. And apart from internal personal guilt which has to be the greatest pain but that is personal and internal, the most serious pain we suffer in the world comes from unfulfilled and devastated relationships. No disease is as painful as rejection. No disease is as painful as false accusation. No disease is as painful as misrepresentation, betrayal [and] hatred.
God seeks and values the gifts we bring Him – gifts of praise, thanksgiving, service, and material offerings. In all such giving at the altar we enter into the highest experiences of fellowship. But the gift is acceptable to God in the measure to which the one who offers it is in fellowship with Him in character and conduct; and the test of this is in our relationships with our fellow men. We are thus charged to postpone giving to God until right relationships are established with others. Could the neglect of this be the explanation of the barrenness of our worship? (Matt. 5:24)
Only when we are finding our ultimate satisfaction in God are we able to relate rightly to one another (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
If [God] is on the throne of our hearts and in control of our lives – then all our human relationships will be positively affected… Instead of looking to our relationships for what we can take from others, we will begin to see relationships in light of what we can give. Finding our own deepest need met in our relationship with God, we will be free to be used by Him to meet needs in others.
Any anti-God relationship that is built on greed and jealousy and self-will is doomed to implode on itself. Quite often enemies unite around a common enemy, but once that enemy is removed, the relationship ceases. Just observe countless church-splits. Think of Pilate and Herod who “became friends that very day” in their common hatred of Jesus (Lk. 23:12). Relationships built on the deeds of the flesh will fail. They will also be judged because they are in opposition to God
A toxic person wants to be your functional god. They want to make you more nervous about letting them down than you should be about letting God down. They will manipulate in a way that oftentimes you do not realize what’s happening. They wish to be lord over your life. You will find yourself centering your priorities, thoughts and actions around their agenda. Christ has come that we might ultimately serve Him. John 8:36, “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” As a Christian, you are now free from the slavery to sin and even the slavery to sinful people. Christ strengthens and builds up. Toxic people (antichrists) weaken and tear down through their controlling tendencies.
Christ was despised on earth by men, and in his greatest need, amid insults, was abandoned by those who knew him and by friends; and you dare to complain of anyone? Christ had his adversaries and slanderers; and you wish to have everyone as friends and benefactors? Whence will your patience win its crown if it has encountered nothing of adversity?
As long as we maintain meaningful face-to-face relationships, especially with fellow Christians, then our electronic relationships will remain in a good and healthy place. But if we interact with people primarily through glass or some sort of technological screen – such as a television or computer monitor – we shouldn’t be surprised that our relationships begin to seem distant, shallow, or artificial.