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Breaking Barriers in Relationships

The Lord places a high price on His people walking, working, and worshiping together in uplifting peace and harmonious fellowship. The early Christians impacted the Roman world by demonstrating love for each other. Their love went beyond mere words and included deeds (I John 3:18).

In those early times critics of Christianity saw clearly that Christians were different from non-Christians in their attitudes and behavior toward each other. As believers proved their love by displaying a Christlike toward others, they left unshakable testimonies for God “In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation...as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

In making an impact for God in reaching people with the gospel of Christ, an ounce of practice of the truth is worth a pound of preaching. A successful businessman in a community embraced Christianity and was saved because of a neighbor's consist testimony for Christ. Whenever holy precepts are lived out in everyday shoe leather, the dynamic gospel of Christ will always show the power of God in any age or place.

The Bible admonishes God's people “Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27). The gospel message is empowered by the Lord in the lives of His people in their walk love, “Being of one accord, of one mind” (Phil. 2:2).

One of the marks of Christian maturity is the ability to work with and get along with fellow believers in getting things done for God. All will agree that the Lord is dishonored, the local church hindered in its mission, and the gospel thwarted when believers behave in selfish ways, use manipulative maneuvers, and evidence hypocritical manners.

Such carnal conduct soon becomes the culprit in building barriers to rob Christians of teamwork, efficiency, and salutary fellowship in ministry. Let us look at three major problems areas.

The first barrier is Pride. This barrier can be constructed instantly, but it is not easily resolved and exacts unbending loyalty from its self-centered subjects.

Arrogant pride causes a person to focus on himself. It falsely lifts it victim above others in importance. Pride also causes its victim to look down his nose at fellow believers and to voice offending sarcasm. When pride is present, barriers are erected between brothers in the Lord.

The panacea for pride is heartfelt repentance and soul-stirring humility in the fear of the Lord (Prov. 3:7). When a child of God forsakes pride in contrition before the Lord (Isa. 57:15), he finds sweet accord and joyous fellowship with other believers. Showers of blessings follow, and God’s people are renewed in the clear waters of refreshment.

The second barrier in relationships is unforgiveness. An unforgiving person soon discovers a churning in the soul and a barrier in his relationship with other believers.

Unforgiveness is a hard, relentless paymaster. Its victim suffers physically, mentally, and spiritually as he harbors his harsh feelings against other believes. It exacts a heavy toll in emotional stress on the person in whom it resides. The person who persists in unforgiveness finds himself wallowing in the muddy waters of bitterness and resentment.

The Bible spells out a clear effective remedy for unforgiveness. The Biblical injunction says, “If any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do you” (Col. 3:13). As God forgave us in grace, so we must graciously forgive others

The third barrier in relationships is misunderstanding. When words are fitly spoken, everyone is encouraged in the grace of the Lord (Prov. 25:11).

While some words can produce peace and unity among God's people, other kinds of words may be misunderstood and build up barriers of discord and division. God's people should be constantly alert to make sure words bring blessing instead of blight.

Before jumping to a hasty conclusion on the strength of hearsay alone, a believer should get all the facts in any given situation. Having done so, he should always try to settle misunderstanding in the spirit of grace, kindness, and patience.

We defeat misunderstanding by focusing on the truth. Having done so, let us walk together as we do God's work faithfully through the enabling ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is then, only then, that the local church will have power with God and man.


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