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Do any of you remember watching the Oprah show many years back where Oprah made a huge to-do about God being a jealous God? (You can watch it here.) That particular show was a turning point for me – I never watched her show again! I firmly believe her view is the wrong view. Our God IS a jealous God – jealous of all the things we put between Him and us! Those “things” are many and we are all guilty! Jealousy is called the green-eyed monster; yet, God’s jealousy isn’t monstrous it is righteous and beautiful! He is jealous because of His great love for us and He wants us to fill our lives with Him. Nothing wrong or weird about that! He is all about relationship.
God, in the New Testament, is all about grace. Not about “rules”; however, He is big on guidelines and even includes how to have a healthy, nurturing, growing relationship. God, in the Old Testament, is all about law; however, He reveals a few guidelines on relationship there also.
Let’s take a look at Zechariah 8.16-17:
- Speak the truth to each other
- Render true and sound judgment
- Do not plot evil against each other
- Do not love to swear falsely
Before you get all wiggy on me, I know the Word of the Lord was being directed to the return of the exiles to Jerusalem and He is referring to the relationship between Himself and the Jews. Yet, aren’t these four principles absolutely crucial in any relationship? I think so!
- Tell the truth!
- Be honest with one another!
- Never ever throw your “other” under the bus!
- Do not break your promises! IF you can’t keep a promise? Then don’t make one. Period.
Now, let’s refer to God’s gracious rules of relationship in the New Testament and for those we go to the well-known love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13:
- Be patient.
- Be kind.
- Do not be envious.
- Do not be boastful.
- Do not be prideful.
- Honor one another.
- Do not be self-centered.
- Don’t react out of anger.
- Don’t be Santa Clause – making a list of wrongs and checking it twice!
- Do not be happy when bad things happen to your other even when you’re upset.
- Be happy to tell and hear the truth.
- Protect your other.
- Trust your other.
- Be hopeful for your other.
- Persevere with and for your other.
- And, finally, never forget to love your other.
God is all about relationships and always has been. Before He created the heavens and the earth “they were” (Father/Son/Holy Spirit); in the beginning He made man and woman to be together with Him. He is a relational God who wants us to spend time with Him and to fellowship with one another, therefore, He outlines a few practical tips. Let’s be good stewards of His guidelines and practice a few rules of relationship!