Relationships Matter

1 Corinthians 7:1-16 – Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But this I say by way of concession, not of command. Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife. But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20). Our relationship with God is tested and strengthened through our human relationships. In other words, our Christianity finds its hands and feet in our human relationships. Without the human interaction, religion is just theory.

It is no wonder that the devil attacks relationships. A breakdown in human relationships spells disaster for our relationship with God. For instance, an absentee father makes it difficult for his child to conceive of God as a faithful Father. And an indulgent mother sets up her child to think any difficulties in life mean that God has forsaken them.

So the devil attacks human relationships as a means to destroy our relationship with God. The principal human relationship between man and woman is the object of his special interest. If he can distort that relationship, then he limits our ability to perceive God, since the image of God is reflected in the combination of male and female. He targets the marriage relationship; he attacks father/daughter and mother/son relationships; and he corrupts any interaction between men and women.

Wherever a healthy relationship exists, it provides an avenue to knowing God. A robust friendship illumines the Friend who sticks closer than a brother, and marriage, the most intimate of human relationships, provides a glimpse of the Trinity itself. This week we consider aspects of the intimate relationship.

SOURCE: Sabbath School Quarterly

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