How To Bond With The Best
It does seem that pain and misery don’t fit in this beautiful earth. Then why is it that many come to grief?
One source of trouble is human relationships. Conflicts abound within families, among neighbours, colleagues and friends. Even the very best of individuals commit unintended mistakes, breaking up relationships. Living in isolation is no alternative because we are interdependent and need one another.
Why should interpersonal relationships pose such a challenge? The root of the trouble lies in human nature. As the Bible puts it succinctly, “What comes out of a man defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts…” (Mark 7: 21). These elements colour our reactions to peoples and events. It is not the events or circumstances themselves that matters, but our reactions to them. To recognise this is wisdom indeed. To rid these evil propensities, we need the love of God and fellow beings to take hold of us. The Spirit of God works within man to produce a love that does not keep a record of wrongs. A love that is unconditional and unfettered.
Ordinary people of faith have a sense of their dependence on the Eternal. They no longer consider themselves as indispensable masters of their own destiny. As the saying goes, the graves are full of indispensable people. That brings in certain humility in one’s conduct and conversation; teaches one to be less selfish and more considerate towards others.
The best formula for good interpersonal relationships is the Golden Rule: ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you!’ This rule articulated in the Bible by Jesus is enshrined in most faiths. If you wish to be loved, appreciated and respected by others, you need to be the same mind towards them. If you hope to be forgiven, it is necessary to forgive those who have wronged you.
A forgiving spirit is essential for the maintenance of relationships because we are by nature imperfect. Good conduct demands that we should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. Anger and revenge do not promote righteousness and in fact blind us to the reality. ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ makes the whole world blind. Our conversation, proceeding from an enlightened heart – enlightened by the Spirit of God – will promote love and understanding. Love is the perfect material that bonds humans in good relationships. A contrary spirit will engender prejudices and hatred.
Theologian Cuyler considered how the good Lord moulds and shapes us through circumstances and situations. He penned the ideal prayer that should create the ideal inner environment for good interpersonal relationships. ‘Oh how often our all wise Master put us into a deep pit of trial, to subdue our pride or to tame our passions, or to break our stubborn will. Blessed is he who can look up unto the countenance of Jesus and say: ‘Master, my rebellious self is dead, that thou may live in me and i may live for Thee and Thee alone!’