The Blessing and Snare of Relationships

“Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man” (Proverbs 3:3-4).

In the Garden of Eden, God provided Adam a helper for companionship and love. God designed us for life with others, and to share our life. But the enemy struck back seeking to destroy God’s good intentions. Many centuries later, we still struggle with interacting with others, and knowing how and what to do and say.

In the verse above, God points the way to success with “God and man.” Notice He does not separate these, as if we could be right with God, but wrong with man. Since God allotted so much space in Proverbs to this matter of relationships, we would be wise to consider His words.

God designed relationships to bless and help.
God’s original plan included a life in harmony with nature and people. The enemy, however, struck early, turning this blessing on its end. Man now seeks out his own way, often without regard for others. But God wants us to live with others His way, and not our own. When we follow God’s plan, our relations improve as does our sense of peace and well-being.

Satan targets relationships in order to destroy us.
Our arch-enemy seeks to undo whatever God has done. God established marriage, so Satan seeks to tear it apart, and inflict as much damage as he can. He creates bitterness, suspicion, hatred, envy, jealously, and aggressive behavior. As God blesses us through relationships, so Satan seeks to destroy lives through others. How can we avoid this grief for our lives?

1. Listen carefully to the teaching of Proverbs on relationships.
In the opening chapters, the wise author warns us against illicit relationships of a sexual nature. God established one man and one woman for a lifetime of love and sacrifice. See Proverbs chapters 2-7.

2. Establish healthy relationships by following the wisdom of Proverbs.
We should avoid needless strife (10:12), slander and gossip (10:18), and useless talking (10:19). Instead we should feed others with wise words (10:21), and keep trusts with others (11:13). Proverbs goes on to describe the life God blesses, and how we can bring healing to our relationships.

3. We should exercise patience with others.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” When we respond with grace, we want people to see Christ in us. We forgive others for Christ’s sake, but also because we know the many times others have put up with us. May God continue to work in and through us as we seek to bless others.

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