I remember as a kid reciting the Golden Rule often in public schools…“do unto others as you would like them to do unto you” (Matthew 7:12). A certain behavior, treatment of others was expected. Politicians were called “Statesmen” respectfully. Today, society as a whole has become vicious, unrelenting, unhealthy, and, in many places, evil. Turn on the TV and you will see relational ugliness. We can’t talk politics anymore without an ensuing loud argument. There is no civility. Worst of all this has crept into our families and most devastatingly into our marriages. I am afraid we have a new norm for behavior, “Do unto others before they do it unto you!” Or, even worse, “who in the heck cares what others think!” Judgement of others frequently is condemning, impatient and unforgiving.
There are “five stops” recorded in 1 Corinthians 13:5&6 that renew relationships.
1st, stop dishonoring each other. We are so rude even in our homes. When watching in dismay our kids be disrespectful, it is painful. Bring the words “honor” and “grace” back into our relationships.
2nd, stop insisting on your own way…your way or the highway mentality. You don’t like to do or be a part of anything that does not benefit you. No longer look through the filter of “self-seeking” and consider others.
3rd, stop being so irritable and becoming angry so easily. James 1:19&20 would rectify so many wrongs. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:26 is challenging, “Those who consider themselves religious and yet not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” Become forgiving and full of GRACE…an ointment applied properly, and your relationships change.
4th, stop keeping a record of wrong. Do not be resentful keeping scores of wrongs done to you. “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter/resentful root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15).
5th, stop delighting in evil. “Christians” frequently hold in high esteem Hollywood personalities and unscrupulous business personalities who don’t glorify God boasting frequently about lavishness and sensuality. Be careful. You are messing with a wonderful, graceful God but a God that must be respected. Entertaining evil will not end up well.
Christ-followers must take a long, hard look at your relationships. Have you integrated worldly values and a lifestyle which have become devastating? Incorporate the five “stops” to renew your family life and each relationship as you walk through life.