Relationships: A Mess Worth Making

RelationshipsI’ve read several books by Paul David Tripp and every time I both love it and hate it simultaneously.  I hate it because it is so convicting and shows me my sin and I love it because when I see my sin for what it is I can start to kill it. Tripp thinks deeply about the practical matters of life and how the Bible affects ordinary mundane moments.  I recently read Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp an unsurprisingly I have to give it a high recommendation.  Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book.  I believe they will give you a taste of why this book is worth reading.

Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t just make your relationships better overnight? We often think that if God really cared for us, he would make our relationships easier. In reality, a difficult relationship is a mark of his love and care. We would prefer that God would just change the relationship, but he won’t be content until the relationship changes us too. This is how God created relationships to function. What happens in the messiness of relationships is that our hearts are revealed, our weaknesses are exposed, and we start coming to the end of ourselves. Only when this happens do we reach out for the help God alone can provide. Weak and needy people finding their hope in Christ’s grace are what mark a mature relationship.

“I confess your sins to myself with bitterness. I can’t believe she did that to me!  I confess your sins to another person in gossip. “Let me tell you what she did to me!”  I confess your sins to God, seeking vengeance. “God, when are you going to do something to the person who hurt me?”  I confess your sins to you in anger. “How dare you do such a thing to me?”

We would easily settle for our own definition of personal happiness when God’s purpose is nothing short of conforming us to the image of Christ!

Humility enables us to see our own sin before we focus on the sin and weaknesses of another. Do you hold others to a higher standard than you do yourself? A gentle person is not weak, but someone who uses his strength to empower others. A gentle person can use strength without damaging those he is trying to help. Do people regularly feel bruised in their relationship with you? A patient person is someone who places the needs of others higher than, or at the same level as, his own. He doesn’t come with a self-centered agenda. A forbearing person is someone who does all this even when provoked. In other words, people who are patient and forbearing are humble and gentle even when they are provoked or when the investment they have made in a relationship turns sour.

“The highest joys of relationship grow in the soil of the deepest struggles. Struggles are not obstacles, but instruments in God’s hands. Every struggle is an opportunity to experience God’s grace yourself and give it to the other person.

God will take us where we have not planned to go in order to produce in us what we could not achieve on our own. He will lead us through the hardships so that we will become more and more like Him.

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