“Relational health grows best when you both care.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 11, 2023
Care for one another. 1 Corinthians 12:25
Today is my wife Rita’s birthday, and her birthday wish is to hike Yonah Mountain in north Georgia. Last year, we began our annual tradition of trekking up to the 3,166 ft. peak, approximately 4.4 miles round trip. Yonah is named for the Native American lore between two young lovers. Today, as two modern-day lovers, we will experience God’s creation, the gift of our relational and physical health, and the celebration of Rita’s beautiful, blessed life. Since we have attempted to invest time in regular walks and exercise, we are in pretty good shape to hike the mountain without totally exhausting ourselves. And there is the reward of a cheeseburger when we finish at the Yonah Burger a couple of miles from the trailhead…a strong motivation! We are learning in marriage that relational health, like physical health, requires intentional investment.
The Apostle Paul instructed the Corinthian church to care for one another. Such a simple and clear command. To give attention to, be concerned, look out for, and protect are a few ways to describe relational care. Care takes time and requires discernment of what another needs. Paul’s remarks are in the context of the diversity in the Body of Christ, so caring for another different from you is especially necessary. There is no better example of two uniquely different individuals than a man and woman in marriage. Be empathetic, listen with heart and mind, and love with words so the other feels cared for and loved. Relational health requires compassionate care…looking out for another by providing security, being respectful, and feeling understood.
“So husbands should care for their wives as if their lives depended on it, the same way they care for their own bodies. As you love her, you ultimately are loving part of yourself (remember, you are one flesh)” (Ephesians 5:28, VOICE).
Care for each other flows from Christ’s care of you and your care for yourself. Tenderly, Jesus calls to you in loving concern for your desires and dreams. What a beautiful template for conversations as you gently seek to know your spouse’s wants and needs. Kindly ask, “How can I meet your needs right now? Do you want to be helped, heard, or hugged?” Patience to help another diagnose desires is the first step in caring by bringing clarity. Fear fills in the blanks where there is an emotional fog; its reaction stings instead of being soothing. Sometimes, there is no need for words, just sitting in silence and being together. Quietness can invite relational calm by communicating I care for you, and your presence reassures me of your love. Be still together.
Care is the best medicine when another is hurting. Help each other move from anger to vulnerability with statements like, “This is what I experienced, this is what I am feeling, and this is what would make me feel better.” Cruel is a conversation that lacks clarity of what someone really needs and wants, but truly caring is a conversation that clearly states what the other one wants and needs. So, strong doses of patient love are medicinal for relational care to bring clarity to everyone’s expectations. When husband and wife lean into the Lord’s loving-kindness to fill their hearts and minds with the Holy Spirit’s power, relational care is the good fruit. Focus on Father, Son, and Spirit to care for and change you, pray for and trust God to change your spouse, and with the Spirit’s leading, love and care for your lover. And in the process, both of you passionately pursue God and each other. Relational health grows best when you both care.
“You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit” (Job 10:12).
Heavenly Father, give me the grace and love to care for my spouse and those close to me in the same way you care for me through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Consider these questions in relational care with those close to you. Kindly ask, “How can I meet your needs right now? Do you want to be helped, heard, or hugged?”
The Worship Initiative ft. Davy Flowers: No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus
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