New Hope Notes
Fixing Our Relationships
Faith Fixer Uppers
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, Pastor Jon Burgess
We are doing the Faith Fixer Upper series because fear is causing some of us to isolate and God is saying, “You don’t have to do this on your own. Not only am I with you, but I’m calling you to do life together with others because you can’t do it alone.”
God has given us a safe place here at New Hope where there’s no shame and no fear. God is saying, “I have put people around you who are going through the same things as you are.” That’s certainly true with today’s subject, “Fixing Our Relationships.”
It would be nice if all of our relationships were completely healthy and strong, but that’s not reality so we want to dig deep into the Word of God in the context of a small group. There are now over 500 small groups at New Hope doing the Faith Fixer Upper series together. The last thing the enemy wants is for us to fix our relationships in the context of community because in community, it sticks! We have people in our lives saying, “I love you too much to allow that thing to break us apart.”
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro will start our message from his ranch in Oregon. Open your hearts and minds as you prepare to receive from God, “Fixing Our Relationships.”
PASTOR WAYNE CORDEIRO [Via Video from Eugene, Oregon]:
Today, I want to talk to you about fixing relationships, such as family feuds—something we’ve heard about or maybe even experienced. Where do feuds come from? Do they start from major wounds? No. Actually, often they’re caused by small cuts and scrapes that have been left unattended and now they are infected.
How many relationships in your life have been hurt because of a minor problem? A slight misunderstanding, untrue rumor, miscommunication, misperception, or someone’s immaturity becomes a minor problem that has the potential to destroy relationships. We must remember that we are all immature to one level or another—prideful to one level or another. Ironically, we have overcome the best battle, but die fighting on the smallest hill! We must learn to choose which hill to die on.
“Therefore we do not lose heart…For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal,” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV.
“Our momentary troubles” will produce a glorious change in us far beyond our comprehension if we will learn to quickly handle the cuts and bruises in our relationships and develop valuable character qualities—the very qualities that we will need for the long run.
I often say suffering will change you, but not necessarily for the better! You must choose that—choose God, choose His best, choose to be on His side. Through God you can grow from those minor afflictions and not allow them to fester and get infected.
God often uses small inconveniences to bring about huge growth. For example, those cuts and bruises may be one of God’s ways to remind us that our eyes may have been focused too much on ourselves—having our own way or having to be in control. God will use small cuts and bruises to snap us back to attention. Maybe He’s teaching us to just be quiet and give Him time to take care of the problem.
Being patient is not one of my greatest virtues, neither is it yours. Often, we just let words fly—a knee-jerk reaction. We say the wrong thing and compound the problem, then our pride steps in and we don’t apologize. So now we have two problems, and it multiplies from there. When our relationships get strained, we keep our wrongs and let go of what’s right.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue. And those who love it will eat its fruit,” Proverbs 18:21 KJV. Words can be powerful for good and bad—they bring death or life. Whether you’re talking to a friend or a stranger your words can bring life or death. Often when God wants to check our spiritual health, He often checks our tongue (our words); therefore, how we relate to one another is vital!
“See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of inequity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell,” James 3:5-6 NASB.
It’s tough to tame the tongue but we can keep it in check. Here’s the first tip:
1. PRACTICE EXPRESSING APPRECIATION because it doesn’t come naturally. The Bible says that the only way to neutralize evil is to replace it by actively doing something good.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,” Romans 12:21 NIV. If you have a tendency to spout off negative comments, stop it by consciously expressing appreciation. If you're always running people down, stop and just start building somebody up. You can't just sit back and do nothing; you must replace the negative by expressing appreciation!
“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances,” Proverbs 25:11 NASB. When we use words correctly, the Bible says it’s “like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Everybody wants to be appreciated! We have the power to express appreciation whenever we see someone doing a good deed. Practice this. It will not come naturally.
[End of Video]
2. PRACTICE PAYING ATTENTION.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20 NIV.
How many can admit that often we’re not quick to listen; instead, we are quick to anger and assume someone is in the wrong. We react out of frustration instead of seeing if there might be another side of this that we simply haven’t taken the time to appreciate.
Perhaps you may look at your relationships and say, “I’m totally fine. I don’t need that small group. My marriage is great. I mean it’s not perfect. It’s sometimes really bad but most of the time, solid as a rock.” Then the Lord comes along with a message like this and says, “Let’s take a closer look here.”
3. PRACTICE HONEST ASSESSMENT.
The Lord is saying that if you will humbly admit that you have some moral filth, some evil that you’ve allowed in your relationship and mind, the Holy Spirit wants to fix your problem and set you free of this brokenness.
Remember, God loves you just the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way. God is the Faith Fixer Upper and He’s telling you to revisit this thing that you’ve given up on and decide to stop pretending and actually do an honest assessment…
“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you,” James 1:21 NIV.
In all of the fixer upper shows on TV, the professionals go into the homes and they see what no one else sees. That’s exactly what God’s doing right now. He wants to show you what He sees in your marriage, in your children, and in the relationship with your friend that’s been broken for a long time. You may have given up on it, but God hasn’t. He wants to show you how that relationship can work. However, it will take making an honest assessment of admitting your brokenness and letting Him heal you and your relationships.
4. PRACTICE IMMEDIATE ACTION.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do,” James 1:22-25 NIV.
How many could use an extra blessing in your relationships? God is looking for those who aren’t just hearing the Word, but are doing of the Word. God is asking us to be free because when we are free we will change the broken world around us.
The step to healing and fixing our relationships may start with something as simple as being kind to the people around us. What if we could express kindness in practical small ways, specifically, paying attention to the Word of God inside of us that will save us from our own selfishness.
May I challenge you that your first action step would be to ask God: “Who can I be kind to? Who can I express appreciation to? Who can I pay attention to and actually listen to? What action can I take right now?”
There’s been a lot of controversy lately about whether people should stand or take a knee when the National Anthem is played. Every Christian, regardless of your political stance, should bend both knees at the Cross, because it’s here that the change starts. It’s here that we are no longer pointing an angry finger about our amendments. No one should disrespect the First Amendment or the American flag that people have died for.
All those things are deflections of what actually matters most, which is what’s going on in our hearts. Our country is being ripped apart at the seams because we keep finding fault in everyone else. Meanwhile, God is saying let the revival start here. Let the change start here.