Disappointment and Relationships

"Close Friends" by makelessnoise (2006), shared under a Creative Commons Attribution license

“Close Friends” by makelessnoise (2006), shared under a Creative Commons Attribution license

Do you ever operate under the expectation that, if you try hard to love and serve people, they will like you in return?  God has something better in mind for you!

My comments on this text will follow the pattern I laid out previously.

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
Bind them around your neck;
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success
In the sight of God and man (Prov 3:3-4, ESV).

Command: Exude love and faithfulness.

Consequence: Favor with God and men.

Our meager expectation: Nice people will be well liked and respected.

God’s unbelievable reward: influence.  Those with godly influence persuade others of God’s love and faithfulness (Prov 16:7, 21).  God favors such humble people (Prov 3:34), who serve others more than themselves.  Communities benefit from such people (Prov 11:10).

Echoes: To give a picture of this good favor, God often grants public recognition to the faithful (1 Sam 24:17-21).  But the essence of the reward is not about recognition.  If you expect every loving act to result in broad agreement and wild acclaim, you will be disappointed.  For example, David’s acclaim in 1 Sam 24:17-21 took place at a pretty low point in his life.

Essence: Jesus “came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11-12).  Those children will be hated in this world as much as their master Jesus was.  But in persuading some to follow Christ, they receive hope, joy, and a glorious crown of boasting when Jesus returns (1 Th 2:19-20).  In other words, they may be disappointed when people don’t like them, but God uses the disappointment to teach them whose favor really matters.

How does Jesus’ rejection help you refashion your disappointment in relationships?

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  • Alison Amaismeier

    Really enjoying this series. I especially like how you debunk the value of our meager expectations in contrast with what the Lord has to offer!