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Yesterday we looked at how we can grow our relationships. The second place we can find growth in relationships is in ourselves. Relationships help us to get to know ourselves better. Even when we’re committed to being a good friend, family member, or partner, we’ll still have days when we struggle with the relationship. People will frustrate us. People will make mistakes. But the tough times in relationships can grow us. It’s in those times when we learn how we respond to frustrations. Do we communicate well or do we give people the silent treatment? Are we quick to forgive or do we hold on to bitterness and resentment? In order for us to grow, we have to be able to evaluate ourselves honestly, and our relationships with other people provide good opportunities for us to do this. The people closest to us help to shape our beliefs, character, and faith. They influence our choices and habits. In 1 Corinthians 13, we find a list of the characteristics of love. It’s a useful checklist for our character in our relationships. It says: ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails’ (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIVUK). If we want to grow through our relationships, we need to evaluate where we’re at, what we need to improve on, and then put the work in to grow in those areas.

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