It's no secret that life can be extremely busy at times. It's easy to get wrapped up in everything we have to do, powering through the day and checking off our lists. But if we are going to have the strong and healthy relationships God desires for us, it's important that we take time and look for ways to keep the connections strong with our friends and family.
One thing I've learned after being married to Joel for so many years is that in order to show love, we have to show respect. Respect is one way to keep our connections strong and our relationships secure. It takes effort, commitment, and action but remember: love goes beyond feelings—true love is a verb!
Now, Joel and I don't always agree on everything, but because we value and respect one another, sometimes we just agree to disagree. We give each other space to be individuals and to have individual ideas. We respect our differences as much as we value our similarities. We respect the fact that we each have our own views and we don't allow our differences of opinion to drive a wedge between us.
On the flip side, the moment you lose respect for someone you begin to say things you don't mean. You start to say things to prove a point or to try to push buttons, and that only brings strife into your relationships. Once there's a wedge of strife, the Bible says that the door is open to every evil work and the enemy can wreak havoc on our relationships.
Today and every day, close the door on the enemy by choosing to respect the people in your life. We all come from different backgrounds. We were raised differently. People see things differently, so why should we get mad at each other when we don't agree? In most cases, there's a whole lot more that you do agree on than what you don't agree on. Focus on the ways people add value to you. Choose respect and choose successful relationships!
"Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor" (Romans 13:7, NIV).