Quarter’s Theme: INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS IN THE CHURCH
UNIT 1 – Knowledge About Interpersonal Relationship (Lessons 1-4)
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 223, 259
Devotional Reading: ECCL. 4:9-12
Topic For Adults
PLAY THE GAME BY THE RULES
Topic For Youths
RELATE WELL WITH PEOPLE
Topic For Intermediates
ESTABLISH GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH
EXO. 20:2-17; MATT. 22: 37-40; ROM. 13:8-10; GAL. 5:14
3/12/2017 LESSON 1
UNDERSTANDING INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’ (Matt. 22:37-39) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Love Your Neighbours as Yourself
There are many hiccups in interpersonal relationships because some parties in them are not sincere and do not display love to others as they love themselves. Many tend to demand from others what they themselves cannot give given the same situation. The reason why it is so easy for people to harm others is because they do not love those they harm as themselves. As a believer, before you act in any way towards other people, always ask yourself, “if what I want to do to this person is done to me, will it make me sad or happy, will I be satisfied with it or will it make me angry, will it give me life or will it take life away from me?” Answer the questions sincerely within you before you act and allow the Holy Spirit to help you to do the right thing. Love is a debt you owe your neighbours, therefore, always pay it by doing things that will not harm your neighbours, but which will rather add positive values to them.
Point of Emphasis: Love does no harm to a neighbour, love is the fulfillment of the law.
Prayer Point: Lord, help me to love my neighbours with the love of Christ.
Relationship can be defined as a connection between two or more people or groups and their involvement with one another, especially as regards the way they behave towards and feel about one another. Interpersonal relationship, therefore, involves the connection between person to person and how they should behave and relate with each other. This week’s lesson examines the type of interpersonal relationship that should exist between believers and God, among believers themselves and the people they have dealing with in their environment.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
PART 1: ESTABLISHING PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (EXO. 20:2-11; MATT. 22:37-38)
If there is any relationship which is supreme and ultimate which everybody who came to this world should enter into, it is the relationship with God. This relationship is personal, because each person will have to decide at one point or the other in his or her life journey to enter into it. It is the desire of God that man should be reconciled to Him after the fall in the garden of Eden, and that was why He sent Jesus Christ to come and pay the supreme price of vicarious death on the cross, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (Gen. 3: 1-24; Jn. 3:16). But it is a pity today that many people are yet to enter into this relationship with God. This is the only relationship that has a reward in this world and that has the capacity to ensure eternal bliss in the world to come.
In the passage under consideration (Ex. 20:2-11) which is popularly referred to as the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments), God specified the terms of His relationship with whoever wants to have dealings with Him. He did not put people in the dark of what is expected from them if they want to enter and maintain acceptable relationship with Him. Firstly, they must recognize Him as God, the creator of heavens and the earth and who created them in His own image. Secondly, they must know that He is the only God and beside Him there is no other God. Though men have created many gods for themselves, but anyone who wants to enter into personal relationship with God must be ready to forsake all gods and stick to the living God. They must not make a representation of God with any carved or graven image. As it is expected in every genuine relationship, God said that He is a jealous God who will not condone iniquity from anyone, but will show mercy to those who love and obey Him (vv. 4-6). In addition, those who have established personal relationship with God must not take His name in vain (v.7). Furthermore, they must remember to worship Him in holiness during days of worship (vv. 8-11).
Having known the terms of this spiritual relationship with God, the onus is on individuals to decide whether he or she is ready to enter the relationship or not. God will not force anybody. He can only persuade for the good of the person. Therefore, what is your decision today? To begin this relationship all you need to do is to recognize yourself as a sinner who needs forgiveness, confess your sins and invite Jesus into your heart and life, let Him become your personal Lord and Saviour. For those who have already entered into relationship with God, the question He is asking you today is how have you been keeping the terms of the relationship? Do you serve only the living God? How regular are you in the church during worship days? Are you really free from all forms of idolatry? Are you living your life daily to please Him? Think on these things.
PART 2: INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIP IN THE FAMILY (EXO. 20:12)
The interpersonal relationship discussed in part one is a spiritual relationship between man and God, but there is a natural interpersonal relationship that usually occurs in the family. This first happens between the husband and the wife and it continues when children are born into the family. They see one another almost on daily basis, they eat together, discuss issues relating to the progress of the family and do many other things together. These myriad of activities bring about interpersonal relationship in the family. To ensure that there is peace and harmony in the family. Each stakeholder in the family must therefore know how to relate with other people in a way to bring peace. The parents must respect each other and perform their responsibility to the children.
The children on their own must honour their parents. The parents are owed this honour because for a considerable period of time they stand as it were in the place of God to the children. This injunction not only prohibits irreverent acts and unkind speeches to parents, but enjoins all necessary acts of kindness, filial respect and obedience. For interpersonal relationship to succeed, each actor in the family must know and perform his or her duties. Also frantic efforts must be made by all to maintain peace and harmony in the family. In a family where there are incessant fightings, unkind speeches, misunderstandings, technical separation between couple and threat of divorce, lack of cooperation bet-ween parents and children, lack of respect for the parents by the children, etc., what is happening in such a family is that the interpersonal relationship has been poorly managed. There-fore, how is the interpersonal rela-tionship in your family? Are you relating well according to the dictates of the scripture and having comfort in your home, or are you just managing and enduring?
PART 3: INTERPERSONAL RELA-TIONSHIP AMONGNEIGHBOURS
(EXO. 20: 13-17; MATT. 22:39-40; ROM. 13:8-10; GAL. 5:14)
Man is a social being, and by this he is bound to relate with others. Believers are not an island and that is why they have not been taken to a convent to be separated from other people. They are bound to meet people in their neighbourhood, schools, places of work, market places, and churches and have to relate with them. However, for the interpersonal relationship to be fruitful and bring about peace, it must follow the Bible injunctions as stipulated in the Decalogue.
When we talk of neighbours, who are they? Among the Hebrews, a neighbour is someone who is near, one connected by bonds of humanity, and whom nature requires treating with kindness and equity. With this meaning, a neighbour is one with whom one relates almost every day as a result of proximity to each other. However, Jesus, in the parable of the Good Samaritan taught that all the people in the world are regarded as one’s neighbours (Lk. 10: 29-37). In the Decalogue, there are specified moral conducts that must be exhibited by believers if their interpersonal relationship with others must reflect that they are different from them. These moral obligations consist of avoidance of murder, to stealing, adultery, false witnessing and covetousness. These negative social vices involve acts done against another person and these are the banes of underdevelopment and anarchy in many countries of the world today. Believers must not be involved in any of these condemnable acts against their neighbours – whether known or unknown neighbours. If these injunctions are adhered to in interpersonal relationships, our society will experience peace, love and harmony. The level of trust will increase and insecurity will be a thing of the past. God is depending on His children (the believers) to champion this course anywhere they find themselves.
Every one engages in interpersonal relationship almost on daily basis. Believers need to relate well with people they meet and deal with showing them the light of Christ. Remember that first impression lasts long. Therefore, represent Jesus well to people, knowing full well that your actions and reactions go a long way in telling the type of believer you are – genuine or fake.
- Define relationship.
- What is interpersonal relation-ship?
- Why is relationship with God described as the most supreme?
- Who is a neighbour?
- How should believers relate with their neighbours?