Blake Brinegar, Pastor at Yellville First Presbyterian Church

Enhancing Our Relationships ...

As we move into February, and begin the season of Lent on Valentine’s Day, I want us to think about relationships. I am sure Ash Wednesday has fallen on this day, but I do not recall it happening during my ministry. Yet, what this really means is Easter falls on April 1 this year. I have already been warned about not trying to make a joke about Easter and April fool’s Day coinciding. Based on recent experiences and talks I have heard recently in the world, I think we can do a better job in our relationships with others.

Lent is a period of time when we review our life with God. We look at our relationship with God and look for places where the relationship is strong, and places where it needs attention. Often when we think of Lent, we think of scriptures talking about Jesus going into the wilderness to be tempted.

I want to tempt us this year.

I want to try to entice us to evaluate our relationships with one another. I want us to think about which relationships are going well in our lives. Then I want us to celebrate those relationships, and determine why they are going well. It might then be worthwhile to look at those relationships which are not going so well, and ask ourselves what these relationships need in order to become stronger. Finally I want us to think about what relationships may need to be allowed to die. Not all relationships are healthy or helpful. Sometimes relationships can be toxic. We may find it necessary to let some things go in order for new relationships which are healthy to sprout up.

This may seem like a little bit of an odd newsletter article, but I have recently had the opportunity to watch people, and there was an interesting thing which came about. The number of relationships and the type of relationship people had made a big impact on the quality of their life, but also their outlook on life. Some of the people I saw were in trouble, and it became apparent in some cases why the people were in trouble when I saw the type of relationships they had. It has been proven by Psychology: humans need contact and relationships to thrive. Even biblically we see where we were created to be in relationship by God because it was not good for us to be alone.

Even Jesus showed us in the importance of relationships.

It was through relationship that people were transformed by the power of God; yet, it all started with a relationship. This is where Jesus got to know people for who they were, where they were. In doing so, individuals had a sense of belonging—they felt they had a connection with another individual and possibly with a group of individuals, (i.e., the disciples). Then once a relationship was established and there was a sense of belonging an interesting happened. There was a sense of transformation which occurred in the lives of these individuals.

Jesus understood the importance of a relationship in order to help foster a transformation. Without the relationship in the first place there would have been no room for transformation in the end.

The one caveat I want to add onto this discussion which pertains to us, is the types of relationships we forge will directly affect the type of transformation we will see in ourselves and in others.