Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Spot The Jesus -Day 2. In Difficult Relationships

Recently a husband was complaining bitterly about his wife’s attitude towards domestic activities while she complained about how rude he was at times when he wanted to correct her and even outrightly abusive at times. Demands of life and our expectations can sometimes leave us with little or no steam and vigour at times, temporarily we might not be the best friends or lovers. It’s easy to love other people when everything’s going well. But when there are hurt feelings, mistrust, or clashing wills, relationships don’t feel very much as though they are of God. Yet it is at just those times, that we can witness the movement of God in our lives, leading us to healing, trust, and cooperation. These can be opportunities to let go of character defects and to exercise virtues. 

When major family relationship problems are encountered, it’s common to attempt a control strategy. You try to get the other person to change. Sometimes this approach works, especially if your request and the other person are both reasonable. But many times it just leads to frustration because we need to work on ourselves.

An internal way of viewing relationship problems is that they reflect back to you a part of yourself that you dislike. If you have a negative external relationship situation, it’s a reflection of a conflict in your own thinking. As long as you keep looking outside yourself for the answer, you may never resolve the external problem. But once you start looking inside yourself for the problem, it may become easier to solve. I see this as a loving way the Father corrects things in us and conform us into his image.

You may be wondering how anything positive could possibly come from your hurting marriage. The apostle Paul wrote, "We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). Christian marriage is not exempt from this principle. Just as we are called to sacrifice in our spiritual walk, we are also called to endure some things for the sake of righteousness.

God is using these sufferings to bring you to deeper faith and repentance. Difficult times always bring us to our knees. They remind us that we are not in control, and only God is. During this experience you should be asking yourself, "How much of my suffering in this situation is caused by my own sin?" Prayer and reading Scripture will deepen your relationship with Him as you learn to trust in His sovereign control. Hard times give us a greater compassion for others going through tribulations.

Even though we can seldom see how God uses difficult relationships for our future benefit, He has promised to use them for good, and He is faithful to keep His word.

Ijeoma Olujekun

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