Who are your closest relationships? Think about the top five to ten people who are your best friends. When I mention the category “friends,” that list could also include family members. Sometimes we have the distinct pleasure of being friends with our family. Michelle and I have thoroughly enjoyed the transition from being parents of four young children to being parents who are friends with their four adult children and their spouses. I’m also thankful for my parents and siblings. On a recent day trip to an extended family member’s funeral, I traveled to the funeral with my brother and sister, and I traveled home with my parents. It was wonderful.
I am also quite thankful for my long-time friends, such as my friend, Chris, as we have been accountability partners since our days together in the college dorm 30 years ago. Believe it or not, Chris and his wife have three boys and a girl, just like Michelle and me, and in the same order. Chris and I continue to meet up for lunch every couple months or so to talk about our relationships and pray together. We also text or call quite a bit in between those face-to-face meetings.
As we near the mark of 20 years in pastoral ministry, I’m also thankful for our Faith Church family. We’ve been so blessed to be a part of this church family, with relationships at a variety of levels of closeness. Michelle and I are especially thankful for a group of church friends that one of the group dubbed the “Fire Friends” because we often gather at each others’ homes around a campfire to talk and laugh and cry.
The reality, though, is that whether family, friends or church family, not all relationships are so good. In fact, my guess is that you could make a list of 5-10 broken or difficult relationships in your life. Those broken relationships are probably in your family, with (former) friends, and in the church family. I can make a brokenness list too. As a result, relationships tend to be our greatest source of joy and pain.
That’s why this coming week we’re starting a five-week topical series on relationships. We’ll be seeking what God’s word has to say about our relationship with God, family, church family, our community and the world, in that order. Our hope and prayer is to build healthy relationships.