Relationships as an Expression of Faith
Jerry L. Harber, D. Min.
Director, The Center for Business Solutions
people of faith, we are continually looking for ways to live
our faith with
others. We know we can volunteer for soup kitchens, clothes closets, and
Habitat houses. But these are occasional. What about day-to-day? We
experience many inter and intra-personal encounters every
day and these moments of
offer the most readily available place to live our faith.
moments, whether fleeting exchanges with strangers or enduring
ones with our families
are opportunities to either bless or curse. That assertion may sound
pretty strong, but its true. And since its
true, we need to be sure we use these experiences to bless.
a simple, but powerful guideline, lets take the Golden
Ruledo unto others as you would have them do
unto you. To unleash the power of this Rule, stop
a moment and ask yourself how you want to be treated. Chances are you want
to be treated with respect, to have your dignity and sense
of self worth valued and affirmed. You want to be acknowledged
for the good you do and for the help youve been.
You want to be loved, at least in the sense that your needs
are taken seriously.
you want these things, then those around us likely want
them as well. Its
true for the clerk at the grocery store, your family members, or the stranger
in the elevator. To make sure your interactions with them bless instead of
curse, you can simply tap into the list above.
about how your encounters with others can convey respect,
affirm dignity and self worth, acknowledge
goodness, and model love. Take the simplest example: Youre on the elevator
and a stranger gets on. You can smile. You can ask, What floor? and
press the button for them. If you feel comfortable, you could say, nice
jacket or dress or bag.
bad news about relationships is this: We are less likely
to do these simple
things at home than anywhere. The good news is we can consciously change that.
You can improve someone elses feeling about themselves and strengthen
your relationship at the same time.
like to be thanked for doing something good or nice, so thank your spouse
for a great dinner or for how
good the yard looks. Tell your kids how much you appreciate them. (This one
can be really hard!) Volunteer the comment, You really look nice tonight. Dont
make someone ask. Practice catching people doing right things, good things
and comment favorably on it. Use this as a replacement for the well-honed
ability to spot
the disappointments and goofs.
about this: You like to have someones undivided attention;
it makes you feel valued and important. Next time youre
watching TV or reading and a family member begins to talk
to you, look away from the TV or reading and look right
at them. If
the conversation seems really important, mute or turn off
the TV; close the book. Why? No TV program or book is as
important as that person at that moment! Thats love in
love, the greatest kind.
things really seem simple, dont they? They are simple
but theyre not
easy. Theyre hard to do because they are not very natural for us. Whats
natural is to think only of ourselves, but our Golden Rule tells us to only
there. Imagine what the world would be like if we all practiced this! Better
yet, dont imagine. Start where you are, waiting for no one else to change.
Youll experience the joy of faith in action and the deepening of your
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