9 ways to improve your relationships
BY DR. ROBERT E. FOWLER
1. Listen well and weigh your words before speaking.
“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” Proverbs 18:13
Proverbs 18 is full of advice on words and how to speak with grace and wisdom. It’s not saying to speak like a gentle poet all the time. We have a Savior who called Pharisees out on their self-righteous ways. But like Jesus, we must listen to the Father and weigh our words before speaking. Words are powerful.
2. Speak without accusing.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19
So often we jump to conclusions and miss some of the story. Pay attention to the full story by listening. Take a step back if you must, to listen well and seek to understand first.
3. Give cheerfully.
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 2 Corinthians 9:6
Be a good sharer and give cheerfully. Giving requires open hands, just as loving must have an open heart.
4. Pray without ceasing
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Colossians 1:9
Prayer is a sweet and profound gift to give to another. Is prayer part of your act of love for others?
5. Answer without arguing
“Better is a dry morsel with quiet, than a house full of feasting with strife.” Proverbs 17:1
What’s the goal of your speech? We don’t intend to, but words can come across as controlling, manipulative, or harsh. Seek to speak words that edify, empower and encourage.
6. Enjoy without complaint
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Philippians 2:14
Service with a grumpy attitude gets the job done, but no one wants to be a part of that team or mission. Besides, it requires fewer muscles to smile and cheerfulness makes you look younger!
7. Trust without wavering
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Corinthians 3:7
Love never gives up. We learn that from Jesus.
8. Forgive without punishing
“bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13
Remember when someone said they forgave you, yet they made you pay for it? Maybe you got the cold shoulder, the silent treatment or constant reminders of your mistake. Let’s pass on complete forgiveness to others. No strings attached.
9. Promise without forgetting
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
A promise made and kept gives life and joy. Be a promise keeper and a life-giver.