Jesus Wept: The Bible and Human Emotions, Lesson 4

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

You may download the weekly adult SS lesson to your android phone here.

 I am no David Letterman, but suddenly I am in the mood to write top ten lists. In conjunction with this week’s SS lesson, here it is:

Top Ten Tips for Relationships

10. Don’t let Satan sabotage your relationships. A few months ago, during a church social, I was visiting with a teenager I previously studied with, before they were baptized. We were talking about having friends, and relationships. I told them,  sometimes I feel like I care more about my friends and family than they care about me. They replied, “I do too!” Then they paused and said, “You know, I bet that is just Satan wanting everyone to feel that way.” It’s good to know my young friend is already onto Satan and his lies.

9. Friends come first. I admire cultures that put friends before things. In some cultures, being late for an appointment is totally justifiable if visiting with a friend made you late. In the United States, we let time and appointments rule our lives, while in most of the rest of the Americas, time is subordinate to people. In Texas, I had some friends from Mexico, who would throw all their plans and appointments for the day out the window, when company stopped by unexpectedly. They were happy to do this. I love a culture that ranks people as their number one resource.  If I have a friend call and ask me to hang out with them, I gladly forget the game I was getting ready to watch, and go hang out with them. Friends come first.

8. Do not be easily annoyed. If your friends do things that annoy you, guess what? You probably do things that annoy them too. Your friends can criticize you as easily as you can criticize them, if that’s really how you want to spend your life. Some people annoy us, because they are so desperate for our attention. For example, let’s say you and I walk into an Olive Garden and they tell us it will be a 30 minute wait for a table. You and I can calmly sit there and relax while we wait on a table. Now, if a man walked into the Olive Garden who had not eaten for  a week, no way would he be able to causally sit and wait 30 minutes for a table. He would be making a fool of himself trying to get some breadsticks or whatever he could get his hands on. Some people make fools of themselves when they are starved for attention. Put yourself in their shoes and give them some attention. I am not saying reward bad behavior, but look past people’s faults and see their needs.

7. With very seldom exceptions, never write off a friend. We are all human. The field goal kicker who missed the extra point last week, will kick the 50 yard game winning field goal this week. You get my point. The friend who let you down yesterday may be the one who saves your neck tomorrow, and the friend who saved your neck yesterday may not be there for you today. Sure there may be times you may need a little space from each other. Life is a football game. Your friends are the players and you are the coach. Sure, you can sit your friends on the bench for a while, but don’t kick them off the team. Know what I mean?

6. Communicate. People ask me what my favorite music and T.V. shows are, but fact is, I would much rather sit and visit than watch shows. I find people more fascinating than T.V. I can watch a movie when I am alone. If I am with people then I want to talk. Oh…..and listen to them talk too!

5. Don’t just hear. Listen. Several years ago in Texas, I had a lady Bible student who was enduring a lot of stress at work. She would leave work and meet me at the church for our Bible studies. She would go on and on about her work problems before I would steer the discussion towards the Bible study. One day, I decided when she came in, I was just going to listen and not say anything until she quit talking. Two hours later, when she stopped, I had prayer and we went home. No Bible study, but she got to talk while I listened.

4.   Always be honest and always be polite. This is especially true in organizations, including the church. Over the years I have sat on several different boards. Sometimes I have encountered people who were afraid to speak out because they did not feel influential or powerful. Some people feel other people get their way because they have more money. Well, no matter how rich or poor you are, you always need to speak you mind, and no matter how rich or poor you are, you need to be nice when you do.

3. Don’t tell your friends what their motives are. You can tell your friends when you do not feel their actions were appropriate or even unacceptable, but do not tell them what their motives were. After the Haitii earthquake, President Obama allowed illegal Haiti immigrants to stay in the U.S. for a while without being deported. Immediately Republicans started questioning his motives and accusing him of having selfish reasons for doing what he did. So what is Obama suppose to do in that situation? Do the wrong thing so people won’t accuse him of having selfish motives for doing the right thing? In that situation, all he could do was the right thing, and as long as he was doing the right thing the motives were irrelevant at that point. The Republicans showed their true colors by being more concerned about the President’s motives rather being concerned about the people of Hatti. I am a Republican by the way.  We already make poor judges of other people’s actions, and we have no clue when it comes to judging motives.

2. Be conservative towards yourself and liberal towards others. Hold yourself to the higher standard while cutting all those around you a little slack. This is what Jesus did. In the Garden of Gethsemane He asked His disciples to pray with Him. They fell asleep on Him, and while He continued to pray, He excused their weakness by saying, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

1. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Replace the word, “love” with your own name, and then ask God to work in you, so that those verses will still make sense.

One Comment

  1. That’s good William,thanks. I shall plagiarize(sp?) some of this for the class I’m teaching this week. Hope things are going well.
    I read a quote (forgot the author) that went, “NEVER is a man rich enough where he can afford to lose a friend.”
    At least I didn’t plagiarize that one.


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