THINGS THAT CAN DESTROY RELATIONSHIPS
There are many things that destroy and undermine relationships.
In the book of James, the Apostle focuses on three aspects that can destroy relationships.
His focus is on our interaction with others and he tells us some of the things that we should avoid.
There is something here for us to learn.
James 2:1 ‘My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favouritism.’
In my Bible the heading for this chapter says: ‘Favouritism Forbidden!’ Favouritism is when we show special favour to one above another.
Favouritism is when we show partiality or preference to one person to the exclusion of others.
We begin to feel like one person has more worth because of how they dress, or how much money they have, or their position or what we feel they have done for us.
The Bible makes it clear that favouritism should not be part of our lives.
Yet it seems such a natural thing.
Favouritism has its root in our personal preferences and not in the value of people.
Favouritism is destructive, in families, in schools, in law, in society and in life.
It robs us of something, perhaps something that we never knew we needed.
The Bible tells us that God does not show favouritism and neither should we.
It’s not always easy, but we must deal with it and walk in victory in this aspect.
Discrimination is another aspect that can destroy relationships.
James 2:4 ‘…Have you not discriminated among yourselves…’
When we discriminate, we move on from favouritism and now we actually make a distinction and we place people into certain categories.
It comes with a ruthlessness that assigns people into different positions.
No longer are we only dealing with our preference, it now becomes a decision.
We begin to say that certain people are always like that.
I think the root cause of discrimination is pride and thinking that we are better than others.
It can even lead to institutional discrimination as it did in certain countries.
It brings great destruction.
Discrimination can also the result of our conditioning and how we were taught by the examples of others.
Discrimination comes in, the moment we have an ‘us and them’ mentality.
How do we overcome this in our lives?
We look at the example Jesus set, and we follow that.
He washed the feet of Judas, knowing that Judas was traitor.
He ministered in Gentile regions and in Samaria.
He came to earth to break down the barriers that separated people.
We are told what to do.
Philippians 2:3 ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.’
There is another aspect that can destroy relationship, and that is judgementalism.
James 2:4 ‘…have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?’
Judgementalism is to have a tendency to judge harshly.
I was a victim of this myself.
As a young man, I was carrying a great weight of responsibility. It necessitated many meetings with many people and the making of quick, accurate decisions. Over time I developed this and when people walked into my office and I would take one look at them and already make my decision before even hearing them out. It was born out of necessity, but it was very destructive, and I had to repent of it.
I remember my late father preaching a sermon entitled: ‘STOP JUDGING ONE ANOTHER!’
Perhaps we need to hear a message like that again.
It is after-all what Jesus tells us to do.
The Lord Jesus was extremely practical in His advice to us.
In Matthew 7:1 Jesus commanded us not to judge others: ‘Do not judge others!’
Judging others always boomerangs onto us.
Matthew 7:1 ‘Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.’
Matthew 5:7 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.’
God would never tell us to do something we cannot do!
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