Lesson 4: Relationships
It really bugs me.
I thought he was just a grumpy old man with issues. The way he was so possessive, such a control freak, and over what – some silly unnoticeable church position. It was his duty to make sure things went just right in his department. If you interfered without his knowledge and prior approval, even by mistake – you’d get a serious talking to. Mr. Control-freak, labeled.
She seemed to have nothing better to do then criticize and complain. At least, that’s what he said. Each week she’d have a commentary on the sermon, who was wearing what, and rerun episodes on miscellaneous church mishaps. Sis. Tabloid, labeled.
He’d quote scripture until it got under your skin. The artificial, superficial eloquence could even agitate a stranger. Everyone knew how he broke her heart, and married another woman. How could he smile so and slather verse after verse over his sinful ways? Mr. Hypocritical Heart-breaker, labeled.
It really bugs you.
Just last year, Mr. Control-freak lost his daughter in a terrible accident. He suffered tremendously and even fell prey to addiction. The church was his last hope. He’d stumbled in just 9 months ago, and eventually found his place. It was the officer vacancy no one else wanted to fill, so he voluntarily assumed the role. Leaving addiction behind, and trying to connect to the only family he has – his church, Mr. Control-freak just needed a little ownership. So yeah, maybe he takes his responsibility a little too seriously, but you get it.
Sis. Tabloid finds church the center of her life too. She really does want to see the church grow. She has her group of friends in the Womens Ministry, but she spends her weekdays alone. Bitter because of the course her life has taken, she finds herself focusing on the pickings of others mistakes. She knows it probably isn’t the healthiest conversation, but there’s always plenty who will listen. Gossip sells. This is how she knows her phone will ring, and so she secures “companionship”. You get it.
He quotes scripture even when he doesn’t feel like it, because he really has nothing better to say. To connect with his true inner feelings, would be to go back where he doesn’t want to be. No one really knows the full story, how he was hurt too. He doesn’t bother to defend himself with the details, instead he simply smiles and quotes words that he hopes will heal. You get it – Mr. Hypocritical Heart-breaker is simply mending his broken heart.
What bugs me and you about him and her is often that we don’t have the whole picture. We don’t know their story. I think that’s what bugs me most. The boxes we often put people in prematurely are often the root of so much drama between us at church, work, and even at home. Our lesson centers on the practical ingredients for healthy relationships, and emphasizes Matthew 7:12’s golden rule. I’d like to suggest we consider how the little we know about others can actually be the source of interpersonal relationships. Let’s get to know each other more. Knowledge can be a manifestation of our genuine brotherly love. This reminds me of a video that we may have posted before: