Be more concerned with relationships than with being right

Published 4:21am Sunday, June 23, 2013

By Rev. Kevin Kelly
I’m often asked, “What can we do to become a better church and reach more people?” I don’t believe the answer to that question is quirky schemes or crafty advertising.
When a church is healthy with vibrate wonderful relationships, then you will find it growing. Jesus gave us the key to it all when he spoke the following words recorded in John 13:34-35. “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (NLT)
We are most attractive as believers and the church, when we show true love toward God and one another.
How is it that the church after two thousand years of the teachings of Jesus still has so little interest in loving each other? I believe it’s because relationship building is hard work! It takes commitment that will see us through difficulties, misunderstandings and disappointments. When there is a tear in relationships, we have to seek healing. Healing takes place when we seek to be reconciled with another person.
But far too often, the following scenario plays out. Someone is hurt or wounded. Instead of going to the other person and telling them how they have been hurt by what has been said or done, the hurt is nursed and a grudge begins to grow.
You begin to avoid the other person. You become quiet around them or even refuse to speak. You expect them to guess why you are upset without ever telling them. You rehash what the person has done to you with other people. You re­cruit people for your side. Then other people take up your offense and they too reject the other person and begin to treat them differently.
Even if the person apologizes, the wounded person is not willing to let them off the hook that easily. They hang onto their resentment, they nurse their wound and they wallow in the wrong that was done to them. They want to be right more than they want a right relationship.
Are you more concerned with being right, than having right relationships? I hope not.
We all struggle with the relationships we have with others inside and outside the church. We all have baggage keeping us from being fully open to God and others.
It is important we keep working on becoming the people God has called us to become. We are defined by our love for God and others.
Do you have a few broken relationships needing a little time and attention? If so, go to work on them. It will not be easy, but the benefits are vast.
The Rev. Kevin Kelly is senior minister at First United Methodist Church in Wetumpka.

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