“Continue to show deep love for each other” (I Peter 4:8)

It’s summertime.  Time to enjoy the beauty of our flowers, trees, and shrubs, as well as all the homegrown vegetation in our gardens.  Unfortunately, it is also time for weeds to overcome our cultivated grounds.  Weeds we can do without.  So, if you are like me, you get out there in the summer sun and spray, dig up, and yank those nasty, pesky unwelcome invaders out.  It’s tough frustrating work, but if we want our flowers and vegetation to flourish and look good – the weeds have to go!

Too many weeds can ruin a pristine garden.  The same is true in our relationships.  Too many weeds can ruin the connection and harmony of our unions.  Whether it is a marriage, a friendship, or a family affiliation, weeds can and will do a lot of damage between ourselves and others.  The number one reason why relationships go bad is a lack of maintenance.  We get lazy and allow weeds of bitterness, unforgiveness, selfishness, pride, greed, and impatience fester in our connections with others, until they take over and destroy the peace and harmony we have with others.  The weeds in our relationships need to be eradicated, just like the ones in our yards.

Weeds in relationships happen because we do not understand one important factor when it comes to human connections.  That is the component of human nature.  Every relationship in our lives is between two broken people.  Every person is flawed, therefore every relationship is going to be flawed, no matter how much we think we love one another.  The brokenness in each of us has the potential to produce brokenness in our relationships.

So how do we manage the flawed, broken relationships we have in our lives?  First, we must realize that we are instruments of God, who have the potential to show God’s grace.  Grace is the most important concept in the bible.  Grace is the love that God has shown to unlovable humans.  It is His unmerited favor.  God extends his grace to us when we don’t earn it, merit it, or deserve it.  Grace has nothing to do with who we are.  It has everything to do with who God is.  And that is the kind of grace we must learn to extend to others.  We give grace to others, not because of who they are or because of who we are, but because of who God is.  The grace that saved us is the same grace that will heal a relationship.

Second, don’t dance around your problems with others.  Don’t play games, like giving others the silent treatment.  Talk your problems out.  Work on your difficulties with one another.  Sit down and listen to one another.  Be open to some honest criticism you may well need to hear.  When you speak, make certain you speak in love.  No, it is not easy.  If it were, we would not need God’s grace to do it. 

Before giving up on a relationship, pour out grace and face one another with honest respect, humility and understanding.  Most relationships can be worked out if we will remember we are two broken people who just need to do some weeding.