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30 November 2020

The influence of relationships

Friday 6 November 2020 | Written by Supplied | Published in Church Talk, Features

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The influence of relationships
Respecting the differences between us makes it easier to love and appreciate them, write John Mateara from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 14111302

When we begin to respect and accept the differences we have with other people, it becomes easier for us to love and appreciate them.

If you were to list the most important things in your life, they probably would not be things at all—they would more than likely be the relationships you have. Your spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandparents and friends would probably all rate higher than your phone, car, house, plantation, or career.

That is because our relationships shape our character and influence what we care about. Whether it is our relationship with God, our family, or our fellowman, through our relationships we find meaning and purpose in life.

As Christians, we emphasise our divine nature as children of our Heavenly Father. From this view we are able to better see our potential and look past our shortcomings and weaknesses. When we see each other from God’s perspective, our hearts are drawn towards each other and we have a natural desire to love and care for each other.

“And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith…having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another…And thus they became the children of God”.  (Mosiah 18:21)

The basis of all relationships, including our relationship with God, begins with understanding. Relationships require trust. That trust comes from experience and spending the time required to understand each other. Think about the relationships that you have with others. The depth of that relationship is probably measured by how well you understand each other.

At work, your relationships are built upon a shared understanding of the work to be done. This shared understanding usually extends beyond tasks to be done to knowing the talents and abilities of your co-workers so that you can work together to accomplish the work.

Friends always know things about us. That’s how the friendship began. You found someone who had similar interests, you shared personal things about yourself, they listened, and you, in turn, felt understood and safe. You also took the time to deeply listen to them. This process of listening and understanding helps sustain your friendship.

Marriage is a relationship built on a deep understanding that goes beyond just knowing about someone. It’s embracing all that they are – the good as well as the not so good – and accepting them for who they are and who they can become. Marriages are sustained by love and trust and require a commitment to each other.

“And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder”.  (Mark 10:9). It wouldn’t be possible to believe in or understand God without knowing something about Him.  “…this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”.   (John 17:3,4)

As we learn of God’s characteristics, we begin to exercise faith in Him and His son, Jesus Christ. As we act in faith, we develop a quiet assurance that expands our understanding of God and deepens our relationship with him. Our relationship with God is essential because the depth of this relationship governs how we act and behave and how we treat and act towards others.

Finally having an understanding and respect for those who do not share your opinions or beliefs can be challenging and can cause relationships to become strained and contentious. However, the word of God encourages us to be humble.

As we continue on our mortal journey here on earth may we strengthen our relationships with each other and develop a greater understanding of who we are and the importance of our existence and the good we can contribute to humanity.

- By John Mateara from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints