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Relationships & Communication

As human beings, we are created for connection. We are created for deep fellowship with God and with each other. At the time of creation, God said that it was not good for man to be alone and he gave Adam a companion and instructed humanity to multiply. God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden each night. There was a deep connection between God and man, and between man and woman.

In a world without sin, humanity was able to relate well, living in close relationship with God and one another. With the fall into sin this all changed, our relationship with God was broken and consequently our relationships with others were also broken.

The Development of Relationships and Good Communication

There is a direct link between the depth and strength of our relationship with God and the strength of our relationship with others. We must put God first in our lives and as we continue to pursue a relationship with God, we will also grow in our relationships with others.

We love because he first loved us.

– 1 John 4:7

Good Christian relationships are those centred around God. When the individuals in a relationship are rooted in God, they are united by the same faith, the same hope, and the same spirit.

Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

– Ephesians 4: 1-3

When God is the ruler over our lives, we have peace and assurance and when that peace is shared with fellow believers, we can build solid relationships. That is not to say that there will not be tension or conflict in our relationships.

There will be times when we stumble, when sin and pride get in the way of pursuing a relationship. Good relationships require commitment to understanding and loving one another. The Bible contains many illustrations of how important it is for us to listen, to refrain from anger and to speak the truth.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and if anyone has a complaint against another, forgiving one another; as the Lord has forgiven you

– Colossians 3:12,13

Healthy, meaningful relationships are blessing from God to help us grow. Not only does growth in our relationship with God support our relationships with others, our relationships with others also serve to sharpen our relationship with God. They reveal our weak points, expose things that we would rather keep hidden and point our where it is that we are not serving God as we should.

Dealing with Conflict

Conflict resolution and negotiation are important skills in relationships. When we are driven by a love for God, that love cascades out to the people and relationships around us. Through that love, comes a desire to resolve conflict and to negotiate around points of tension. In dealing with conflict we are motivated to seek unity because of the love that we share.

As we strive for unity in love, there are many wise communication skills we can learn. The books listed down below discuss this in more detail.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all

– Rom 12:18

Some wise communication skills to keep in mind in your communication with others are:

Be quick to listen, slow to speak.

Seek to understand.

Ask lots of clarifying questions.

Try to get to the heart of the matter, what is the underlying cause of the conflict?

Avoid anger.

Do not use words that tear down.

Use words that bring grace and build up.

Seek unity.

Work to put aside your own thoughts, feelings and pride and work for the benefit of the relationship.

Be ready and willing to compromise.

Keep God in the centre of your relationship.

Pray. Pray together and for one another.

Recommended Books and Resources

Making Friends: Beyond Loneliness To Rich RelationshipsDee Brestin

Can we Talk: The Art of Relationship Building Rob Green

Communication and Conflict Resolution: A Biblical PerspectiveStuart Scott

Conflict: A Redemptive OpportunityTim Lane

Help! I'm in Conflict Ernie Baker

Caring for One Another: 8 Ways to Cultivate Meaningful RelationshipsEd Welch

Relationships: A Mess Worth MakingTim Lane and Paul Tripp

War of Words: Getting to the Heart of your Communication StrugglesPaul Tripp

The Peacemaker: A biblical guide to Resolving Personal ConflictKen Sande

Side by Side: Walking with Others in Truth and LoveEd Welch

Iron Sharpens Iron: Friendships and the Grace of GodMichael Hakin

True Friendship: Walking Shoulder to Shoulder Vaughn Roberts

Real: The Surprising Secret to Deeper RelationshipsCatherine Parks

A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships Paul Miller

*We have a selection of books in the Trellis Library that are available for loan. If you would like to borrow a book, please get in touch with us to find out if we have a copy available. 

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