Thursday, February 27, 2014

Relationships from God's Perspective

by Margaret Lepke

A horrible realization drifts into my awareness. I start to comprehend its significance. I recognize its awesomeness – and I mean this in the true sense of awe! I grasp the fact that every time my actions fall short of God’s perfect standard (in other words, whenever I sin), I am doing something that Jesus suffered and died for…

My thoughts then trail to the fact that many of those actions are performed within the context of relationships … relationships involve all spheres of life ... relationships among Christians are not always what they ought to be… how easily are we influenced by worldly concepts … one thought leads to another…

Relationship advice abounds. Many feel free to give it, many indeed need it, but God has the last (and best) say. That inspires me to take a systematic journey through the New Testament to see what godly relationships look like.

But what does all this have to do with writing? Well, let’s see. Following God’s advice will most likely improve our relationships; make us feel better within ourselves and draw us closer to your Heavenly Father. This, in turn, will influence our daily experiences, guide our thoughts, and … there it is … inspire our writing. You could even use this checklist to shape some of your literary characters and their relationships.

Not only will our rewards be precious if we heed God's advice, but the way we make others feel in the process will be priceless…

Love one another (John 13:35 - this command appears 16 times)
Be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10)
Honour others above yourselves (Romans 12:10)
Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16)
Build up one another (Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Be likeminded towards one another (Romans 15:5)
Accept one another (Romans 15:7)
Admonish one another (Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16)
Care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)
Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
Bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2)
Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:2, 32; Colossians 3:13)
Be patient with one another (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13)
Be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32)
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19)
Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21, 1 Peter 5:5)
Consider others better than yourselves (Philippians 2:3)
Look to the interests of others, not just your own (Philippians 2:4)
Bear with one another (Colossians 3:13)
Teach one another (Colossians 3:16)
Comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
Encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13)
Stir up one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24)
Show hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9)
Employ the gifts that God has given us for the benefit of one another (1 Peter 4:10)
Clothe yourselves with humility towards one another (1 Peter 5:5)
Pray for one another (James 5:16)
Confess our faults to one another (James 5:16)


And now for the final wrap-up: 

“This is God’s commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” (1 John 3:23)

“Therefore, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God!” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Margaret Lepke is a Christian educator, counsellor, naturopath and writer. She loves encouraging women to grow in Christ and presents many helpful talks and workshops. Enjoy the resources on her website.


  1. Thanks for that Margaret. I think that's one of the great things about Christian writing groups. They're a great forum for putting those relationship instructions into practice (e.g., encouraging one another, teaching one another, employing our gifts for the benefit of others). None of us is perfect of course. I know I often do things that would be a fail on the relationship scale, but hopefully we're also quick to ask for forgiveness and sort things out. It's a good reminder of how we're meant to treat one another. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Fabulous and timely post for me, as I ponder 'love God and love others' .....what that means in my relationships.
    Guess I'm not the only one working thru this challenge :-)
    Thanks Margaret xxxooo

  3. Hi Nola and Di,
    Thanks for the encouragement. And yes, I am all too aware of my own shortcomings. Whenever I point at others, there are always three fingers pointing back at me:). So this might be a good time to apologize for not being able (time-wise) to comment on everyone's posts. Sometimes it takes me days to catch up on everything that's been piling up and some posts just slip through. But I do appreciate all of you writers on this blog!

  4. Hi Margaret - I love the NT "one another" verses - and just the sheer number of them shows how important God view's relationships. Such simple exhortations - yet at times so difficult to put into practice but for the love and power of God. I do think that this is relevant to us as writers - not just in how we relate to others but also incorporating such values in our writing. Not that our characters need to be perfect (that wouldn't be very realistic) but we can show people growing in such virtues as well as showing the consequences in people's lives when these virtues are absent or ignored. For instance, Meredith Resce's Merlington Hall shows the damage gossip can do (as did George Elliot's Middlemarch). Thanks for your posts - and also for your comments. :)

  5. Wow! What a wonderful comprehensive list. Thanks Margaret for that beautiful description of living life the way God intended us to - in relationships that serve one another, encourage and build each other up. I loved it and copied the references down for any future use. Thank you. I think relationships are what matters most in life. So you've said it all. Bless you.

  6. Yes, Jeanette, I wish it was as simple as it sounds, but while we are on this side of life our battle with the 'old nature' is a constant, day to day - no, moment to moment - awareness of bringing all thoughts into the captivity of Christ BEFORE they turn into action. And recognizing this principle in ourselves helps to make us more patient with others :)
    I really like the way you placed these values into the writing arena. Very helpful comment, thank you!

  7. Thanks, Anusha. I totally agree about the place of relationships in our lives. It becomes so obvious how important God's exhortations are to healthy relationships when you counsel people who don't know the Lord! Heaving read much of what you have written in the past, I am quite confident that your relationships are blooming:)

  8. Marg, it's so good to be reminded (in your final wrap-up) just to LOVE one another which just about covers all those relationships. Easy with folk we're fond of, but only the Lord can give us the grace to love the unlovely. And that's exactly what He continues to do for us. I think I'll copy this great list into the back of my Bible as a potent reminder.

  9. Haha, Rita, I have done the same (copied the list for my Bible) but have grouped the exhortations according to how they fit together rather than in the order of Bible books. I wonder how your publishing is coming along; drop me a line some time.

  10. Hi Margaret,
    What you've pointed out here is very interesting and true. Our relationships do tend to be the area of lives in which many of our regrets, shortcomings and sins pop up. If only we could all keep that list in front of us to refer to, what a better world it would be to live in.