“You Were Created for Relationships” Genesis 2:18 and I Peter 3:8 5/11/14 RMBC Pastor Dennis Introduction A. On this day when we think so much about our families and our mothers I remind you that we were made for relationships. Yes, we were made for worship, we were made for eternity, we were created to bring glory to our Creator, but one part of that created purpose is for relationships. B. Take a moment to look at Genesis 2:18. Earlier (Genesis 1:26) we read that God man in his image, but now looking at man in his “aloneness” God could say, “It is not good for man to be alone.” I value deeply this section of Genesis 2 as it describes the foundation for all of our relationships – God fashioning woman from the rib of the man and bringing them together. We see from the outset in the words “suitable” and “helper” that God’s purpose for this new relationship was a reflection of himself. We see God best in our relationships for there, in those relationships, God can continue to work through us. C. Now, part of what makes relationships so adventurous (a great joy and blessing on one hand and a great challenge with many difficulties on the other) is that man and woman are so amazingly different in our make-up. Let me tell you about that: Men’s Brains: Are made up of little boxes. There is a box for the job, the car, the money, the house, the kids, the wife, her mother (somewhere in the basement). Ladies/girls you need to know: #1 Rule is: The boxes must never touch. If you want to discuss something with a man he pulls that box out, you discuss only what is in THAT box, and then you put the box back being very careful not to touch any other boxes. Women’s Brains: A quite different. They’re made of a big ball of wire – And everything is connected to EVERYTHING. The car is connected to the money, which is connected to the kids, which is connected to your mother . . . It’s like the Internet Super Highway – And it is all connected by an energy that we call emotion. And that is one of the reasons women tend to remember everything. See if you take an event and connect it to an emotion, it gets burned in your brain and you will remember it forever. The same thing is true for men, it just doesn’t happen very often because frankly, we just don’t care. And women seem to care about EVERYTHING! Now ladies/girls something else to know: We men have a box in our brain most women are not aware of. This box has nothing in it. We call it The Nothing Box. Of all the boxes we have in our brain, it is our favorite box. If man has a chance, he will go to the nothing box every time. That’s why we can do things that seem like we’re brain dead for hours on end. “Honey, what are you doing? Nothing.” An hour later, “Honey, what are you doing in the garage? Nothing.” A study was done over at a university a few years ago where they hooked men up to these electrodes and measured their brain activity and they discovered that men can do absolutely nothing – and still breathe. Women can’t do it. Their brains are all connected and they never stop Gzzzzzzzzz! They don’t understand the Nothing Box and it drives them crazy. Nothing frustrates a woman more or makes her more irritated than to witness a man doing nothing! (Credit to Mark Gungor for that monologue) D. Surprisingly, the Apostle Peter had something very helpful to say about how we can live together in relationships in spite of our great differences. Peter had boxes if anyone did – he had his fishing box, he had his mother-in-law box, he had his nothing box – but when Jesus really took up residence in his life Peter became a source of wisdom and godly living. Relationship Strategies A. In I Peter 3 there is a section on husband and wife relationships. Now don’t let it trip you up that there are six verses for wives and only one for husbands. You see, the opening phrase of vs 7 tells us that what applies to wives applies to husbands too, “In the same way.” B. But for all of us I call your attention to vs. 8 which reads, “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” In our limited time this morning I want to lift out three relationship words: harmony, sympathy, and humility. HARMONY A. Most of us recognize harmony – we heard it this morning as different singers blended their voices to sing the same words but at a different pitch to make a beautiful sound. The N.T. word for harmony is a compound word: Like-minded. A literal translation is, “be of one mind.” It’s not absolute conformity or unanimity but doing something together. B. Picture this: When a Boy Scout Troop found an abandoned railroad they spent the next while seeing who could walk the furthest on the rail without falling. Then two of the boys bet the others they could walk the whole distance without falling. To prove it they each stepped on opposite rails, joined hands for balance, and walked the entire length together. C. That is a picture of harmony in a relationship – like a family, or a marriage, or among friends. Oh how different we are! And we easily “fall off” if we try to go alone. What are you doing to keep your balance in your relationships? Can you hold on to one another? That’s God’s way and it’s called harmony. SYMPATHY A. Again, let me give you the N.T. word: “to suffer with.” In Hebrews 4:15 we learn of Jesus that he is “a high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses.” The older KJV puts it, “is touched by our infirmities.” Sympathy means that we get in touch – that we touch one another at a level below the surface. B. What happens when you see someone struggling to carry a large or heavy load such as some packages? For most of us there is an immediate urge inside us to help. We immediately and gladly ask, “May I help you with that?” For some reason, when we see someone carrying a heavy emotional load we are more hesitant. We’re not sure if they will receive our offer. We wonder if they even want help or if we will know how to help. C. But one key to healthy relationships is getting in touch and reaching out when life is difficult or loads get heavy. The “down-home” wisdom that says, “You never know who your real friends are until trouble comes” actually has a biblical basis. It is Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.” In all relationships, especially within our families, one secret to success is just that – loving in times of trouble. We do that when we reach out and touch each other. It’s called sympathy. HUMILITY A. If harmony has to do with our reach, and sympathy with our touch, humility has to do with our thoughts. Actually the key to humility is what I think about God. I can only think right about myself when I think right about God. I Peter 5:6 reads: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” B. Some of you know that two weeks ago I was playing tennis when I got all discombobulated (which means I fell down really hard). It was one of those weird falls where I couldn’t even get my hands out to break my fall. I literally had 13 strawberries from my head to my shoulders, hands, elbow and knees. What no one who witnessed this grand occasion knew was that about 10 minutes earlier I had said to myself, “Isn’t this great. I am 65 years old and I can still play with these guys – in fact I can take most of them.” And then I got humbled. C. Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less. It is not weakness; it is strength – God’s strength – living in me. And it is one more secret to great relationships. Application A. We’ve already admitted that this isn’t a great day for everyone. For some of you Mother’s means painful memories. But we can bless our moms, we can show godly traits to them. If big 6ft. 8in. Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder BB team can tear up when he says nice things about his mother, I think we can celebrate the relationship that we have and that we also long to have. B. Here’s what I ask of you this morning: 1. Remember that what we have studied here in I Peter is the Word of God. This isn’t pop psychology or Dr. Phil stuff – this is God’s Word to us. 2. If these three ideas (harmony, sympathy, and humility) are not part of your M.O.; if they are not evident in your life and it is affecting your relationships, I ask you confess that to God. The opposite of these concepts is sin – disunity, carelessness, pride. 3. Ask God to produce these qualities in you. Just as James teaches in James 1:5, “If anyone lacks wisdom let him ask God,” the same is true here: Do you lack harmony? Ask God to help you reach across . . . Do you lack sympathy? Ask God to help you get in touch . . . Do you lack humility? Ask God (Be ready – you may fall down like I did) God is waiting to fill up what is lacking in your life. God is the expert in relationships – they are his idea. Ask him. Just don’t ask God to fix the other person until you ask him to fix you.