how to build a genuine relationship, pt. 1

©2021 dan bulkley | ask@lifefellowship.org

How To Build A Genuine Relationship

section 1

Building a true, genuine relationship with multiple people or even just one other person is one of the biggest challenges we have against our base, sin nature titus 3:3 . Our selfishness and pride isolate us from one another proverbs 18:1 proverbs 13:10 james 4:1 . Even in our own homes with favorable circumstances, we still live in strife rather than peace proverbs 17:1 , we are against each other not for each other matthew 12:30 ; all because we are seeking our own romans 3:10-17 john 12:25 rather than what makes relationships opportune with God and other people…that is, blessing anyone else we have opportunity with in the Lord’s way romans 14:17-19 .

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supporting scriptures

titus 3:3

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

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proverbs 18:1

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.

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proverbs 13:10

By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.

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james 4:1

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?

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proverbs 17:1

Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.

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matthew 12:30

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

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romans 3:10-17

as it is written:

"None is righteous, no, not one;

11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.

12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."

13 "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips."

14 "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness."

15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood;

16 in their paths are ruin and misery,

17 and the way of peace they have not known."

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john 12:25

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

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romans 14:17-19

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

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section 2

This is why fellowship with each other can only come from our fellowship with God i john 4:7-12 . Genuine, loving relationships are the fruit of Jesus in our lives john 15:4-13 . Then why are so many believers so fruitless in genuine relationship? Love comes from a pure heart, a good conscience and sincere faith i timothy 1:5 , but because we still hold to sin and are not diligent to purify our hearts by the Truth i peter 1:22 psalm 51:6 , maintain a clear conscience in open, ongoing repentance ephesians 4:20-24 proverbs 28:1 , and trusting God to deliver romans 10:11 , we are fruitless in relationships matthew 13:22 . The worry for our self luke 12:22 , the deceptive hope of riches i timothy 6:17 and worldly pleasures luke 8:14 have us living for our own desires rather than the will of God i peter 4:1-2 . Hence, why it is so important to pursue purity, a good conscience, and growing in faith in our Lord.

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supporting scriptures

i john 4:7-12

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

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my notes:

john 15:4-13

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

12 "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

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i timothy 1:5

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

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i peter 1:22

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart

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psalm 51:6

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

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my notes:

ephesians 4:20-24

But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

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proverbs 28:1

The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.

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romans 10:11

For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame."

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matthew 13:22

As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

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my notes:

luke 12:22

And he said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.

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i timothy 6:17

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

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luke 8:14

And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.

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i peter 4:1-2

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

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my notes:

section 3

It is for this very reason Jesus died, so that our natural selves could die with Him galatians 2:20 so that as He rose from the dead, we too can live a totally different life ii corinthians 5:15 in His resurrection romans 6:4-10 . He changes us from our selfish, hard selves ezekiel 11:19-20 genesis 4:9 to loving others and concerning ourselves with their best interests as we ought to have been all along philippians 2:20-21 ii john 1:5-6 .

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supporting scriptures

galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

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ii corinthians 5:15

and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

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romans 6:4-10

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.

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ezekiel 11:19-20

And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

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genesis 4:9

Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?"

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philippians 2:20-21

For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

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ii john 1:5-6

And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.

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my notes:

section 4

A genuine relationship with Jesus is the only way to build real relationships with others john 17:17-26 . Therefore, we can only really have united companionship, love, peace…a genuine relationship with other children of God philippians 2:2 amos 3:3 . Christ Himself pointed out that genuine, Biblical relationship is not a matter of biology but of a God-ly love reciprocated for one another mark 3:31-35 . This is why the Truth of Christ is so important. If we want to truly have fellowship with each other we must walk in the Truth about Jesus, our own selves, and others. In this we can have the kind of fellowship that Hollywood tries to portray but can only be built in the Truth and Love of Christ i john 1:3-7 .

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supporting scriptures

john 17:17-26

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20 "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

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philippians 2:2

complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

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amos 3:3

"Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?

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mark 3:31-35

And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you." 33 And he answered them, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother."

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i john 1:3-7

that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

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my notes:

section 5

Though we wish it were so, and even try to deceive ourselves, we know that genuine relationships don’t just happen. They are cultivated, built up with intentional effort and sacrifice of our own self for another galatians 6:2 galatians 6:8-10 . It is through walking in Christ’s ways that we grow to love one another i john 2:3-6 i peter 1:22 . Practically speaking, it is through the sincerity and holiness of your life that Biblical, genuine relationships are built ii corinthians 1:12 .

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supporting scriptures

galatians 6:2

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

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galatians 6:8-10

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

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my notes:

i john 2:3-6

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

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i peter 1:22

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,

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ii corinthians 1:12

For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.

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my notes:

section 6

While the majority of people are not readily responsive to another’s effort romans 10:21 in sincere, holy love, if you yourself desire any chance at a genuine relationship you must, for your part, pursue and conduct yourself for the other’s welfare, needs, preferences, and interests especially at the cost of your own interests i corinthians 10:24 philippians 2:17-22 . Otherwise, you have no reason to expect anything but isolation proverbs 18:1 .

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supporting scriptures

romans 10:21

But of Israel he says, "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people."

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i corinthians 10:24

Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

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philippians 2:17-22

Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me. 19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.

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proverbs 18:1

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.

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my notes:

section 7

Genuine relationship grows in the soil of understanding i corinthians 8:1-3 i corinthians 8:11 luke 23:34 psalm 103:14 while it struggles in the soil of the desire to be understood proverbs 18:2 . Yes, do not leave people unaware or confused as to your heart ii corinthians 12:19 , but do not make yourself being understood the pursuit. Your effort should be made in getting to know the Lord and His heart philippians 3:8-14 and the other person’s heart proverbs 20:5 so that you in true understanding might discern what is best to love them in the Truth philippians 1:9-11 ephesians 5:9-10 . You will be closer to others, if only for your part, by pursuing such Biblical insight to meet the other’s needs ii timothy 2:22 proverbs 15:14 ephesians 4:29 . Leave it to God to reveal the sincerity of your heart so that through Him you may be known in the genuineness of your pursuit psalm 37:3-6 ii corinthians 1:13-14 i timothy 5:24-25 .

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supporting scriptures

i corinthians 8:1-3

Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that "all of us possess knowledge." This "knowledge" puffs up, but love builds up. 2 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.

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i corinthians 8:11

And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.

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luke 23:34

And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments.

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psalm 103:14

For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.

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proverbs 18:2

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

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ii corinthians 12:19

Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved.

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philippians 3:8-14

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

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proverbs 20:5

The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.

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philippians 1:9-11

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

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ephesians 5:9-10

(for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

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ii timothy 2:22

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

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proverbs 15:14

The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.

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ephesians 4:29

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

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my notes:

psalm 37:3-6

Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

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ii corinthians 1:13-14

For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand— 14 just as you did partially understand us—that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you.

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i timothy 5:24-25

The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. 25 So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.

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my notes:

section 8

If you are going to have a genuine relationship with someone else, you cannot wait for them to make the effort hosea 11:3-4 . You must follow God’s example to us and love before you can even hope to receive a loving response romans 5:8 i john 3:16-17 . The more mature MUST bear the weaker in the relationship by taking it upon themselves to set the example ii thessalonians 3:9 , taking the hits romans 15:1-3 , and carrying the slack in the relationship ii corinthians 12:15 . In a sense the stronger should realize that to win the weaker proverbs 11:30 luke 16:9 proverbs 19:6 , they must themselves woo the hearts of those who are more selfish into genuine relationships of selfless love just as the Lord has done for us hosea 2:14-16 job 36:16 i peter 2:19-3:8 .

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supporting scriptures

hosea 11:3-4

Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them.

4 I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them.

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romans 5:8

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

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i john 3:16-17

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

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ii thessalonians 3:9

It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.

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romans 15:1-3

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me."

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ii corinthians 12:15

I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?

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proverbs 11:30

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.

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luke 16:9

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

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proverbs 19:6

Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.

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hosea 2:14-16

"Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. 15 And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. 16 "And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’

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job 36:16

He also allured you out of distress into a broad place where there was no cramping, and what was set on your table was full of fatness.

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i peter 2:19-3:8

For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

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a quick note:

If you see a weakness in another regarding your relationship, that makes you the stronger one in that instance.

section 9

If the other does not respond accordingly, then apply patience proverbs 25:15 ecclesiastes 7:8-9 . If they actively reject your efforts, then in Love AND Truth you should not force yourself on them; let them have their own way in keeping with God’s Word to you ezekiel 3:27 ecclesiastes 11:9 matthew 5:39 matthew 10:12-14 . Ask yourself what your God-commanded responsibilities are, given the ongoing relationship.

supporting scriptures

proverbs 25:15

With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.

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ecclesiastes 7:8-9

Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

9 Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.

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ezekiel 3:27

But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD.’ He who will hear, let him hear; and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse, for they are a rebellious house.

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ecclesiastes 11:9

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

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matthew 5:39

But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

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matthew 10:12-14

As you enter the house, greet it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.

continue with part 2 of this series →