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Be flexible

11 March 2024 ‘Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others.’

When it comes to our relationships with other people, we need to learn to be flexible. There are times when we need to stand firm, but if we find we always need to be ‘right’ and make the other person ‘wrong’, we’ll struggle to build stable, long-lasting friendships and relationships. One author writes: ‘We will not last together because we were never wrong. We will last because when we were wrong, we found the invincible will to correct the wrong and the grace to endure whatever it took to survive it together.’ Our relationships are made up of imperfect people with their own ideas and opinions, and with different backgrounds, experiences, and expectations – it’s inevitable that we’ll disagree from time to time, no matter how well we usually get on. The key is to accept that we won’t always agree, and then be willing to work together to find a solution, open to change, and prepared to meet others halfway. Jesus demonstrated this attitude at the wedding at Cana. When the wine ran out, Mary wanted Jesus to do something about it. He replied: ‘My time has not yet come’ (John 2:4 NCV). It wasn’t the right time for Him to reveal to everyone what He could do, but rather than completely refusing to help, He carried out Mary’s request quietly and subtly. The root of many problems in relationships is selfishness. We like to get our own way. But that’s not how the Bible encourages us to live. Philippians 2:4 says: ‘Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others’ (NCV). When we’re concerned for others as well as ourselves, we’ll find it easier to co-operate and find some middle ground when disagreements happen.

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