Whether you’re married or unmarried, have a houseful of children or don’t have any, have more friends than you have time for or have one or two people in your life, it’s important that you maintain healthy relationships in your life. When your relationships are healthy, you will notice an improvement in your physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual health. However, only you can make the commitment to creating and maintaining healthy relationships in your own life.
God did not create us to be isolated people. In fact, in the Book of Genesis, God called everything that He made “good.” He created the sun and the moon, the grass and the flowers, the animals, the seas, and everything that you still see around you, and He said that all of it was good. However, when He made Adam and saw him standing alone in the middle of a garden eutopia, God changed course and said that it wasn’t good. It’s not that Adam was flawed. At that point, sin hadn’t entered into the world. Instead, the issue with Adam’s presence in the Garden of Eden was that he was there alone (Genesis 2:18).
It’s not because Adam was flawed or that the garden wasn’t ideal. Neither of those were true. Instead, God said it wasn’t good that Adam was there alone. When God made the first human, He immediately saw the need for humans to be connected to other humans.
However, having relationships is only half the battle. Once you have relationships with other people, it’s important that you create healthy relationships. Healthy relationships are those that benefit both parties. For example, if you have a “friend” in your life who only contacts you when he or she needs something and they never offer to provide a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on, or help with the practical things that you need assistance with, the relationship is very one-sided. In the same vein, if your relationship with someone in your life only involves what they can do for you, the relationship is equally as unhealthy.
God is a God of relationships. That’s why He is so passionate about His relationship with us. In the same vein, He is very focused on the relationships that we have with others. The Bible is full of Scriptures that discuss the importance of healthy relationships and how to create them.
That means that the responsibility is ours. It’s up to us to understand how to identify and create healthy relationships in our lives. In the same vein, it’s up to us to identify unhealthy relationships and either end them or change them so they are healthy. Doing so is not only beneficial to our own physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, but it’s also an important part of being what the people in our lives need us to be.
Is the Relationship Mutually Beneficial?
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV)
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him-a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
One of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship is that they are mutually beneficial. Do you have any people in your life who only call you when they need something? Perhaps it’s that one “friend” who you don’t hear from for months, but anytime they need help moving, they send you a text message. Creating mutually beneficial relationships doesn’t mean that you are mean to those people or treat them unfairly. However, it does mean that you don’t bend over backwards to satisfy their requests.
Similarly, are there people who you only contact when you need a favor? If so, the relationship is not healthy, even if it benefits you.
According to Scripture, relationships are meant to benefit both parties. When one falls, he or she has another to pick them up. When you work hard, the two of you have a greater reward for your toil. When the coldness of life leaves you feeling chilled, having someone by your side can provide warmth.
Examine the relationships in your life and determine how many of them are mutually beneficial. Try to make changes to the ones that aren’t, but if that doesn’t work, don’t lose hope. Instead, focus your time and energy on nurturing the relationships that benefit both parties.
Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away
Matthew 7:6 (TPT)
“Who would hang earrings on a dog’s ear or throw pearls in front of wild pigs? They’ll only trample them under their feet and then turn around and tear you to pieces!”
Matthew 10:14 (TPT)
Nd if anyone doesn’t listen to you and rejects your message, when you leave that house or town, shake the dust off your feet as a prophetic act that you will not take their defilement with you.
These teachings of Christ centered on the sinful people who refused to listen to Him and the disciples. In fact, many of the cities they went to reacted violently and threatened their safety and wellbeing. While those are the people that He was saying the disciples should walk away from, we can also apply this principle to some of the unhealthier relationships in our lives.
While we are called to love others, that doesn’t mean that we have to tolerate abuse, mistreatment, or any other type of behavior that leaves you feeling like you are less valuable than you are. The Bible says that we should live at peace with all people “as much as is possible within us” (Romans 12:8). There are some people who you simply can’t live at peace with.
Even if it’s difficult, don’t allow yourselves to keep unhealthy relationships in your lives. If there are people who mistreat you and damage your health (whether it’s mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual), don’t be afraid to walk away. Your love for others isn’t contingent on allowing them to mistreat you for the rest of your life.
Don’t Hold Others to a Higher Standard Than You Hold Yourself To
Matthew 7:1-3 (TPT)
“Refuse to be a critic full of bias toward others, and judgement will not be passed on you. For you’ll be judged by the same standard that you’ve used to judge others. The measurement you use on them will be used on you. Why would you focus on the flaw in someone else’s life and yet fail to notice the glaring flaws of your own?
Finally, one of the most effective ways to cultivate healthy relationships in your own life is to ensure that you’re not holding people to a higher standard than you hold yourself. We often demand perfection from those around us while giving ourselves a pass on the things that we don’t do correctly. That’s not a healthy relationship.
It’s important to note that holding others to a higher standard than you hold yourself to damages both sides of the relationship. The other party will quickly realize that you’re overly critical and will distance themselves from you. Similarly, you may fall into the trap of thinking that no one around you is worthy of your friendship or love.
A Closing Prayer:
Father, please help me to grow healthy relationships in my life. I know that You have placed people around me for a purpose, and that purpose is so we can influence one another, encourage one another, and love one another. Help me to focus on the good relationships in my life and nurture them. Help me to identify relationships that are lacking and work to repair them. If that’s not possible, give me the courage to walk away from them. I ask all of these things in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.