One of my favorite things to listen to is a well-played acoustic guitar. I have had a guitar for many years. (And, occasionally, I even play it.) I have never been able to, however, master the ability of making those six strings project a majestic melody like some of the legends I enjoy listening to.
Even though I cannot play to the level of my aspiration, I recall learning as a young guitar student that the first thing any serious guitarist must do before striking out on a ditty is to tune their instrument. An untuned guitar can grate on the nerves of even the most patient listener.
The topic during this week’s of the Relationship Goals series has been centered on conflict resolution. Conflict is bound to happen in any relationship because we are all broken people with selfish natures. It is only through God’s grace that we can overcome our self-centered tendencies. There are certain things we can do, however, to help us recognize when we are getting out of tune and steps we can take to restore the desired relational harmonious melody.
1. Use a standard. Just as important as an electronic tuner, the E chord, or a tuning fork is to a guitar, the Word of God is important to our lives. Spending time routinely reading, studying, and applying the truths of scripture affects not only our relationship with God, but with those whom he has placed in our lives as well.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
— Psalm 119:105
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. — Psalm 119: 11
2. Listen. With a guitar, it’s easy — even for the untrained ear — to know when one string is out of tune with the others. It’s not quite as simple in our relationships to hear (or know) when things are out of tune, but it is of even more importance. As the adage goes, we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry… — James 1:19
3. Ask others for feedback. Have people in your “audience of life” who you have given the right, responsibility, and obligation to let you know if they hear something from you relationally that is out of tune. Be open when they give you such feedback, then prayerfully do something about it.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. — Proverbs 27:17
4. Stop. Have you ever heard a guitarist who, rather than simply stopping to retune an obviously discordant instrument, decided to just power through? Although it may be humbling to pause the song and retune, it will spare much grief. So, it is in our relationships. Stop and, in humility, seek to make things right.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
— Ephesians 4:29
Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.
— Ephesians 4:2
This series, Relationship Goals, has focused primarily on our horizontal relationships. As important as the relationships we have with our spouses, family, or others that we do life with are, they are not nearly as important as the one we have with God.
When asked which of all the commandments was the most important, Jesus responded as follows:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
— Mark 12:30
Where are you in this most important relationship of all? If you have never asked Jesus Christ to be Lord of your life, I encourage you to do so right now. He longs to have a relationship with you and made a way for you to experience just that through dying for your sins and taking your place on the cross. He has left the decision to you but has made the way simple:
- Acknowledge your sin.
- Believe in Christ’s saving power.
- Confess your sin to him.
- Ask for his forgiveness.
If you would like to enter this most important relationship and live your life in harmony with him, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. One of our pastors would love to answer any questions you may have, guide you, or celebrate your decision with you.
Take a few moments today to evaluate your vertical and horizontal relationships. Check your tune and make adjustments if necessary, such that, through those relationships, a beautiful sound is produced.