Mondo bizarro & relational me
Few of us live in a closet. Mondo bizarro isn't an isolated vacuum even in pandemic times. Weirdness usually deposits levels of stress on us regardless of our mental and emotional capacities. The most case-hardened among us experience withdrawal and distraction when our life circumstances are complicated by consistent oddness. This is where relational me must intersect the tensions that may exist with others as a result of interpersonal stresses. Here we are on December 1, 2020, with 31 days to evaluate and repair relationships that have been broken or strained by mondo bizarro. Entering 2021 with relational integrity will give us clarity about our influence and the people who are such vital parts of our journey. Beyond the up close and personal dynamics discussed yesterday, relational me should stretch beyond self to the people around us. We cannot allow mondo bizarro to rule our relationships.
This Christian worldview makes much of our relational lives. How we relate to others is a vivid and profound distinction of Christian faith. The New Testament clearly addresses the personal interaction between believers. More than fifty "one another" passages provide guidance in our interpersonal interaction with other Christians. For many years I have referenced the infographic from The Beginners Guide to the Bible by Jeffrey Kranz as a tutorial in relationships in the Christian community. If you would like to review this informative Scripture review, click here. Anything clock?
Then, there are the "everyone" truths of Scripture, our relational dynamics with people beyond the family of faith. These verses are an extension of our faith as witness and testimony to the people we encounter who are not necessarily reciprocal in following biblical instruction. There are many. Several can inform us about how relational me can respond to those not sharing our faith commitments---
Honor everyone. 1 Peter 2: 17, ESV
Strive for peace with everyone.
Hebrews 12: 14, ESV
And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone...
2 Timothy 2: 24, ESV
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. Philippians 4: 5, ESV
So then, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to everyone...
Galatians 6: 10, ESV
The point is, whether we are interacting with fellow believers or not, we should express genuine care and concern for all people. Relational me should seek peace, tranquility, and reasonableness in our interaction with other humans. As year ends, each of us should evaluate our relationships with others and seek to relieve any tension that may place us at odds. An odd world should not define our relationships. So, relational me, should use these next thirty-one days to seek relief of these pressures. Here's how---
1. Take the lead to initiate remedy of damaged relationships.
Who doesn't understand the value of human relationships? Practical James admonished his readers "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin" (James 4: 17, ESV). Regardless of cause, we know the joy and peace of restoration when relationships are broken. Failing to do what is right in this regard may be the real sin. So, take the lead and reach out to those with whom we are experiencing tension.
2. Overlook minor offenses that may have separated you from others.
Many offenses that separate us from others are actually misunderstandings, words or actions that occur as a result of pressurized situations or harsh circumstances. Solomon wrote, "Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense" (Proverbs 19: 11, ESV). Don't permit some minor interaction to carry over to 2021. As they say, let it go.
3. Be forgiving of others who have injured your relationship.
We love legalistic games when forgiveness is the topic. In my opinion we should be forgiving of others even when they have not acknowledged their infraction or asked for our forgiveness. Hebrews 8: 12 affirms God's promise through the Prophet Jeremiah, "For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more".
It's an extension of mercy that moves us forward in resolving personal tensions.
So, yes, 2020 has been mondo bizarro. We must clear the air with others in the next thirty-one days so these things don't so burden 2021. And, relational me can handle it.