In One Month to Live, Kerry and Chris Shook use climbing Mount Everest as a metaphor for growth in relationships. They suggest that there are three mountains that generally prevent unity in relationships:
- The Mountain of Misunderstanding: For communication to happen, the message must be given clearly and then understood completely. But all kinds of things get in the way of that. I might say something I didn't mean. Or you might hear something I didn't say. Effective communication is hard. It takes work. We have to slow down, speak gently and lovingly, and listen with full attention. One thing that helps is to say back to the other person what you heard them say. That lets them know you heard them, and gives them a chance to try again if they didn't get through.
- The Mountain of "Me First": The natural tendency of all human beings is to think of our own needs and desires before we think of others--sometimes even at the expense of others. In a relationship, this is deadly. Ask yourself: "Is getting my way really so important that I'm willing to risk losing this relationship?" Learn to work for creative solutions that meet the needs of both people.
- The Mountain of Mistakes: We are human. We mess up. Sometimes these mistakes are small and easy to overlook; sometimes they lead to deep wounds that take time, trust, and the hard work of forgiveness to heal. Forgiveness is all but impossible in one's own strength; but by the power of God, it can be done.
These mountains are present in every relationship, and getting over them can seem as challenging as climbing Mount Everest. But the challenge is worth it. And you're not without help.
Today's Scripture talks about acceptance. Kerry and Chris say that acceptance is like the rope that mountain climbers use when scaling a dangerous peak. It keeps them from falling too far if they slip. As we try to get over those relationships mountains, we're going to slip. The rope of acceptance keeps us from falling too far.
Acceptance means that we stop trying to change others and we start trying to understand them. It means accepting people the way they are.
And why do this? Because, as today's Scripture says, "Christ accepted you."The power to accept others comes as we get more and more in touch with God's acceptance of us.
Think of the most important relationships in your life. Is there someone that you need to stop trying to change and start trying to understand?