My church has been working through some really good things recently. We’ve been having open meetings to discuss ways we can better advance our mission within our community and within our church body. One of the big things we have discussed is how we relate to one another – how we communicate information, how we welcome people, and how we need to know one another better.

Relationships are so very important. God did not create us to live in isolation. He gave Adam the animals, Eve, and eventually children and grandchildren – who would all go on to populate the entire Earth. He gave us the Church universal and the local body to help us grow in our faith. God is the One who created friendship. He intends for our relationships to build us up and glorify Him.

But, let’s face it. When relationships work well, they are the riches of life. When they don’t work well, life really stinks. Here are some things I have learned in my 40 years about good relationships:

  1. My mother used to say, “To have a friend, you have to be a friend.” When we find ourselves without friends, we might need to look at how we are treating others.
  2. As an extension of #1, making and keeping friends really does depend on me. I can’t wait for someone else to reach out to me. It’s my responsibility to make the first step.
  3. Patience and flexibility are key. No one is perfect, including me. I need to extend grace to my friends, just as I want them to extend grace to me.
  4. While I need to be the initiator, friendships are not all about me and what I need and want. It’s give and take, and I need to be ready and willing to offer to do my share.
  5. Love really does make the world go ’round. If we show a little love and kindness, we will reap multitudes of rewards.

So, what relationships do you need to work on? Do you find yourself surrounded by lots of great friends, or are you in a dry land with few close relationships? What steps can you take to improve your friendships?