Tips for Life
by Alan Bailey
So much of life seems to be a network of relationships. Apparently we are built to relate to others around us. It is part of being human. It means so much to have a friend, a sister, a brother, a mother, a father, a wife or a husband. Happy is the person who can experience the nearness of others who have an interest in them and even a stake in their lives. Happy is the person who can say that the relationships in their lives, especially the close ones, are healthy and well maintained. Love given and love received is a great recipe for happiness.
Today, the circle of acquaintance spreads widely. Being present with others personally, isn’t necessary any more for those who follow Facebook and Twitter every day. The world is their oyster. Even romance can be conducted on line.
Oh Dear, what goes wrong?
Along with modern technology there has arisen another phenomenon; the epidemic of relationship breakdown. Go back one step and notice that many can’t form relationships that have any strength. What is going on? Why are so many marriages failing, some after only a few years? Why are people being bullied at work or on the Net? Why do motorists have insults and fists thrown at them every day? Then consider the neighbourhood disputes that are featured on TV current affair programs. Running battles go on for years. And consider the awful rate of suicide which is so closely linked to relationship breakdown and the depression it causes.
There are some clues available for those who ask why. One that stands out is that self-centred pleasure seeking, something as old as the hills, has taken a powerful hold on many lives. No doubt, anything that looks like spoiling our fun or putting us down is to be hated and shunned. This means people being hated and shunned. Relationships are essentially two-sided, but if they are entered into for personal gain, or status, or advantage of any kind, trouble is very likely to ensue. Opposing wills clash resulting in swords being quickly drawn.
What can be done?
A line from way back goes like this: “The best of friends are those that know the worst about you but love you just the same.” Relationships are to be worked at with give and take, always with thoughtfulness for the other person, their well-being, their feelings. Being a help and blessing to others is a far better way to find happiness than the simple pursuit of personal pleasure and gratification.
The most important relationship of all is the one most neglected; our relationship with God. So neglected that many folk don’t realise they have one! They imagine that ignoring God is a neutral thing. They don’t care and He doesn’t care. How wrong! Keeping God out of our lives and our thinking is a cosmic crime which has eternal consequences. We rate God so low when He should have our allegiance, our reverence, our obedience. A change of mind about this is the pressing need, the most significant move anyone can make. Through God’s intervention in our circumstances, the way is open for us to know Him. The mediator is Jesus Christ, the one and only Saviour. Being rightly related to God is more important than anything else in human experience.