Tuesday, August 05, 2014

How the Gospel Changes Our Relationships: Introduction

Last week I was invited to lead a breakout session at a youth conference in town themed “The Gospel Changes Everything.”  The conference explored all the different aspects of life that the gospel transforms, relationships being one of them.  Of course, most of the students assumed relationships meant dating.  That became clear when the girl to boy ratio for each session was about 7:1.  Nevertheless, I wanted to look at relationships from a more fundamental perspective, then apply what we learned to specific types of relationships.

I posted the outline last week, but thought it would be good to treat each of those areas individually in posts over the next week or two.

Relationships weave through every area of our lives; parents, spouses, friends, co-workers, peers, cashiers, waiters, bank tellers, and on and on.  Some of these we choose and others we don’t.  Some hold greater importance than others.  All of them matter.  The Gospel has something to say about all of them.  

Relationships are difficult for numerous reasons from selfishness to lack of communication to presumption to pride.  Those are all internal reasons.  But, we cannot ignore the fact that those internal desires are fed through the IV of television, internet, advertising, pop-psychology, music, and even friends and family.  They sustain and feed our view of relationships and most often the slow drip giving life to our unhealthy views goes unnoticed.  They shape how we think about marriage, dating, co-workers, revenge, etiquette, parenting, love, affection, forgiveness, self-esteem, and priorities, all manipulate how we relate to other people.  Our challenge, therefore, is to be sure our relationships are not defined by these shadowy influences, but from the Word of God.

The Bible challenges our assumptions about relationships. We'll look at the following:

  • Treat other people as being more important than yourself
  • Church Relationships become a Priority
  • Neighbor Redefined
  • With whom do you pursue friendship?
  • Submission to Authority
  • Genuine Happiness for the Joy of Others
  • Forgiveness
  • Servant to All
  • Purity and Devotion in Relationships

What do you think are some specific aspects of relationships that have been led down an unhealthy path by cultural influences?

No comments: