Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I wonder if we realise how important the relationships we have are to our progress in the Christian life – and particularly the difficult ones!
When we show love to someone we find difficult, we are demonstrating the gospel. As sinful people, we were completely incompatible with a holy God, but he chose to suffer and die for us: not because we were lovable, but because he loved us. For Jesus, his disciples were not always the best, but he persevered – no wonder Jesus spent time on his own in prayer with his heavenly Father!
The closer the relationship, the better the image of the gospel. This is one of the huge values of marriage from a Christian perspective – it is of itself a demonstration of the gospel: the gospel that Jesus is totally committed to his church – full-stop. Another value is that God uses close relationships such as marriage to make us more like Jesus. In a relationship, we have the opportunity to become more aware of others and how they think and respond, and thereby build our compassion and love to a wider circle. It also gives an increased awareness of ourselves: how we think and respond, and the attitudes and priorities we have. What are my relationships highlighting for change in me by the Holy Spirit?
May we be built up together to maturity in Christ,
With love and blessing,