One busy day, I was trying to get my boys to their computer classes on time when we realized that we couldn’t find one of their textbooks nor the house key. More frayed nerves and frantic running around. In the midst of it all, my phone beeped. It was a text message from a number I didn’t recognize, and I was taken by surprise by what I read:
At the time Paul wrote his letter to the church in Philippi, he was languishing in a Roman prison, yet in his introduction, he describes true happiness not as him being released, but as the Christians there having loving, harmonious relations with one another. Then he goes on to describe how they can do that:
It was Christmas Eve. I was in a hurry, trying to finish my work early and prepare for the evening with my family and friends, when the phone rang. I answered impatiently, “Yes, hello?”
“Merry Christmas, Lilia!” the voice on the other end cheerfully exclaimed in accented English.
The Bible tells us that we see through a glass darkly. This refers to our limited ability to grasp the full spiritual realities of heaven, but I believe that our limited perception also affects our ability to fully understand the hearts of others who we encounter here and now. We often fail to see others as Jesus sees them, as His beloved whom He would have paid any price for. He sees in them a beautiful spirit that He has created and He sees what they can become in Him.
I absolutely love avocado! Along with being delightfully delicious, it is a versatile fruit. Not to mention that it’s outstandingly healthy—one of the best sources of natural oils and many vitamins.
When I was eight years old, my family and I watched a BBC documentary featuring a group of British WW2 veterans who had fought in North Africa. Throughout the film, the veterans related their wartime experiences, most of which were accounts of withstanding hunger, terror, and deprivation on the path to victory. Although these stories were moving, the most unforgettable one for me was a different sort of tale. It was related by a frail, white-haired gentleman who smiled warmly and said that his most unforgettable experience was when he was gifted a peach!
When I came in for my nursing shift in the department for Alzheimer’s sufferers, one patient was very agitated and wouldn’t sit still. I could have given her some medication to calm her, but as she wasn’t aggressive or in pain, I instead walked around with her for a while. It was an aimless stroll; I would stop at times to look at paintings, show her a teddy bear, look out the window, etc., but mostly we just walked.
When I was born, only a few years after WW2, Holland was still getting back on its feet, and the aftermath of the war and occupation was still visible. I grew up hearing many stories about the things people had endured, and it filled me with deep respect for the sacrifices that had been made, including by those who chose to stay true to their convictions, even to their own harm.
Before you go to sleep, think about My love for you. If you count your blessings, you’ll see how I have blessed you in so many ways, through so many things and so many people. Each of these is a token of My love for you personally.
The Bible is a rich storehouse of spiritual and practical advice, and examples of strong relationships are one of the recurrent themes. In fact, Martin Luther commented that the entire Christian life consists of relating to people around us.1
So what can we learn from the Bible about how to succeed with people?