Christian Relationships and Loyalty



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  • Christian Relationships and Loyalty

    Another topic that has pulled at me as of recent is the Christian consumerist treatment of relationships.

    What really characterizes consumer culture is not attachment to things but detachment. People typically do not hoard money; they spend it. People do not cling to things; they discard them, replacing them with others more appeasing. I see this played out time and time again among Christians and how they treat relationships as disposable. One of the biggest challenges we face with relationships comes from alternative moralism prevalent in the Church.

    The restlessness of worldly consumerism—always needing to conform to the latest fashion or craze—seeks to resolve itself by deeper commitment to the process of consumerism itself, of hunting for novelty. The restlessness and detachment of Christianity resolves itself by finding rest in God and, therefore, investing its energies in caring for our neighbors above self.

    Should we as Christians remain loyal to fellow Christians despite personal challenges that will arise? The proof of our confession is in the historicity of a relationship which reflects a person's true character and value system, not the religion or position claimed. I can state I am a Christian but if my choices are in opposition to the imitation of Christ, I refute my claim by evidence given.

    Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
    Scripture is full of specific instruction on how we should treat each other. If we have been transformed into Christ as a new creature, we will heed his admonition that "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35).

    Romans 12:10 expresses this detail well, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” And Romans 14:13 expands, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.”

    The phrase "be devoted to one another" is key to this topical subject. Being devoted means to be very loving or loyal. “Loyal” a word again highlighted. If someone offends us, our ultimate response should be restoration, not evasion. I have seen pastors and budding teachers defriend others that offended them with merely a word of scrutiny. These were not troubled or combative people, but merely a concerned person presenting a different opinion on a topic. Such action reveals that this leader or teacher is not a mature candidate for their leadership position. Longsuffering is a spiritual gift, one that is not enigmatic for a mature leader. This also applies to every believer.

    Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
    It is too easy in this age of technology to hold people at arms-length, only allowing in those who appeal to us, who make us feel good, enlarge us or our cause. I don't think it is necessary to detail what is wrong with this mindset? In the spirit, we will be able to reach out to people who would normally be offensive in our flesh, as Christ did. Not that we must press ourselves into a moral mold, but by walking in the Holy Spirit, we will by inner-unction seek restitution and or restoration with other Christians by our new nature. If we lack the inner fortitude to patch wounds or restore damaged bridges, we are not abiding in Christ and need to seek restoration with God foremost. If the other party refuses to consider restoration, then the sin becomes their burden and we are free of obligation. However, the heart of restoration never closes, it is always open if the offended ever comes around.

    Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

  • #2
    In a way, I think we all struggle with the natural "discarding" tendency ingrained in us. It takes effort, mercy and the Holy Spirit, to persevere in love and maintain friendships, and to do this for the glory of His Name--

    "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35


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