Healthy relationships are an essential element on your Life Palette to assure that you can live as the masterpiece God created you to be. Making relationships a key expression of your core foundational value will give you favor. As you do so you will see amazing changes in those relationships, including your relationship with God. Jesus valued relationships. In Mark 12, Jesus and His disciples were in the temple courts surrounded by a crowd. The religious leaders of His day were asking questions and discussing Jesus’ answers. They were literally debating. One of the religious leaders thought Christ’s answers were profound, so he pressed in and asked Jesus which commandment was the most important. Jesus’ response was all about relationships, first with God and then with others. “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31) Simple: Love God, love others. Simple – but not easy.
One reason it’s not easy is that you won’t agree on everything with those you have relationship with. Often when you disagree you will argue or dare I say even fight! And that’s OK, even healthy, as long as you are able to realize that you are working through something so that you can continue to build healthy relationships on your Life Palette. The problem you will often face is that you have not prepared ahead of time how you will fight; rules of engagement.
Rules Of Engagement
Thankfully, God gives us rules of engagement in the Bible. Three simple rules: “You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” (James 1:19-20) These rules of engagement will change your relationships, during disagreements they will pave the way for you work through everything, come to agreement and build perpetually growing, healthy relationships.
1. Be Quick To Listen
This is more than simply not talking. This is about listening with a desire to understand. When you disagree or fight with someone today, make it your goal to understand their position.
2. Slow To Speak
It’s important to choose your words carefully. Once they come out of your mouth you can never take them back. How many times have you spoken something and you knew you shouldn’t have said it even before you spoke it? Make it a rule of engagement – slow to speak.
3. Slow To Get Angry
Anger will always add fuel to the fire and make it harder to work through your disagreement. You have to control your temper, keep a cool head.
God’s rules of engagement work. The key is to have His Spirit living in you so that you will be empowered to live them out: “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Gal 5:22-23 NLT)
Imagine the difference it would make if we would all apply these rules of engagement to all of our relationships. As you do you will make a valuable difference in assuring you have healthy relationship on your Life Palette. While you can’t control what everyone else will do, you can choose what you will do.
Make a commitment to apply these rules of engagement in every relationship today. Which of these 3 do you need to work on most?