by Sam Tan

The key element of a godly relationship is love. As brothers and sisters in Christ, I can’t see how we could have a relationship but do not have love. What would a relationship without love look like? Would it be superficial or just based on ‘what I can get from you’?

Jesus loves us without condition; when yet we are still sinners and underserving, He came so that the relationship with man & God can be restored. Through the cross of Jesus love, justice, grace & holiness was shown. By His love and grace, we are saved today, we who believe in Him. God expressed His love to the fullest! He gave His all, to the point of laying His life for us. He gave us a wonderful picture of what a relationship should be based on and how it is lived out!

We know that we are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, He commands us to love one another as how He loves us (John 13:34). We are able to love God and others because He first loved us.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:9,10

In our years of courtship, my wife and I exchanged many words of affection like “I love you”, and one day, we asked each other what that really meant. After much reflection, I said to my wife (back then she was my girlfriend), “this is how I feel that you love me – I can be who I am, with the good and ugly side of me and yet you still love me as who I am and not what you expect me to be; being able to speak correction with the intention of seeing me mature and honouring how God has created me and releasing to His purposes in my life.’ In my relationship with her, I felt genuine love, trust and honour. After having that revelation, I married her!

Is our love for each other genuine or is it with conditions?

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3 (NIV)

Another element to building a lasting relationship in God’s family is to bear with one another in love we are called to be tender-hearted and forgiving, just as Christ has forgiven us (Eph 4:32). Let us not be quick in picking up offenses but learn how to speak up and clarify issues where needed and laying down our rights in things that do not really matter, in doing so we strive to keep the unity of the Spirit. Let’s not major on the minor, but let’s discern what is close to the heart of the Father and pursue it. This is a mark of a mature believer.

Our relationship with each other also has an outward purpose in that when we love one another and are united as one in Christ through the Spirit, the world would believe and see that God sent His son and we are His disciples (John 17:21, John 13:35). As our faith is being lived out daily through the way we love and honour each other, our actions will speak louder than words. Our beliefs & convictions becomes a lifestyle that glorifies Jesus!

So bear with one another in love, be united as one in Christ that the Church would be in one purpose loving and impacting communities and nations!