Mick’s Memo – Relational Faith

The words belief, trust and faith are often used interchangeably, both in contemporary communication and in the language of the New Testament.  They are certainly connected. What I believe to be true, I act upon as though it is fact, putting my trust in the truth claim or the object or the person involved.  For my purposes here, I want to consider the faith involved between persons.

What makes us trust or have faith in some, but withhold trust from others?  We are encouraged by Scripture to trust God because of His holy and righteous character, His affection and good intentions on our behalf and His limitless ability to influence outcomes.  When I have tested those characteristics, I have found them to be true and eminently worthy of the faith I have put in Him. But experience with other persons can affect our ability to put our faith in God.  Other seemingly reliable persons may have abused our trust. Trust in God may require me to overcome the hurdle of abused trust in the past.

Should we and, if so, how can we expand our trust in relationships with others?  The answer to the first part, “should we”, is certainly expected for followers of Jesus.  We are told multiple ways we are to interact with “one another” that all demand a level of trust, check out this partial list—

Serve one another……………………………………..……Gal 5:13

Accept one another    …………………………………………Rom 15:7

Forgive one another    …………………………………………Col 3:13

Greet one another    …………………………………………Rom 16:16
Bear one another’s burdens………………………..………Gal 6:2

Be devoted to one another    …………………………………Rom 12:10

Honor one another    …………………………………………Rom 12:10

Teach one another…………………………………..………Rom 15:14

Submit to one another………………………………………Eph 5:21

Encourage one another……………………………..………1 Thess 5:11

Of course, the overarching summary of all of these is Jesus’ new command to “love one another as I have loved you”.

But how?  How do we trust, love and fulfill all these “one another’s” when we human beings are not as trustworthy as God in His perfections?  The short answer is that we need an abundance of grace and truth. Grace and truth are God’s tools for dealing with our own faults and He encourages us to use the same in dealing with one another.  As we have been objects of God’s grace and forgiveness, we should see the truth about ourselves—even our best virtues are derivative from and a gift of God. We should relate to others in that light, not with the assumption that others are somehow “unworthy” of the grace we have received.  As Jesus told Peter (to his great surprise” we need to be willing to forgive not just seven times, but seventy times seven.

Does this mean we should subject ourselves to systematic abuse from someone?  Should a battered spouse endure abuse? Only an abuser would twist the Scripture to mean this.  I believe it means we should always be open to sincere repentance, though NOT to manipulative deception.  However I do believe it means trusting in God’s grace for us and tapping that grace forgive perpetrators.

Most of our relationships are not abusive.  But even non-abusive relationships may be occasionally disappointing.  We may be let down by others bad habits, flaws and failures. We may let others down by our bad habits, flaws and failures. If we required absolute reliability we would never trust anyone! This is where truth becomes critical to trust.  When we fail to live up to the trust needed in relationships, we need to own it. When our conscience sends the warning signal, we need to heed it and seek reconciliation with the “other”. If we feel someone else has let us down to the point where we are having difficulty trusting them; we need to speak to the personally and seek reconciliation so that they can learn and we can possibly find something we need to address.

One of the most divisive and strength-sapping things that can happen to the body of Christ here or in any other location is festering relational distrust.  Trust is vital to relationships. Healthy relationships are vital to fulfilling God’s calling to live out Jesus’ great command and the numerous “one another’s”.  I see the positives of relational faith constantly as I interact with the CrossRoads family. I pray for God to continue to grow that faith in one another as we work together “Bringing Christ’s Compassion to People at the CrossRoads of Life”!

We will enjoy the “teen takeover” this weekend!  Teens will be involved throughout the service and around the campus.  There will be a video of faith testimonies from the teens and I will continue the message series on Faith from Hebrews 11.

See you Sunday!

Mick

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