We need to have good relationship among our people. God created us to have relationship with Jesus Christ.
(The devotional message given by Daniel Bourdanne, the General Secretary of IFES for the graduates at the UESI TN Koinonia Conference held at Salem, Tamil Nadu on 15 January, 2012)
“Our relationship should be good – to be in peace with someone. There will not be a revival if you are not forgiving each other. People from outside should say, ‘how good your relationship is!’ Your relationship should bring glory to God. We need to forgive each other.” Dr. Daniel emphasized the crux of his message.
How do you know that the student movement is doing a good job? The graduates are the measuring rod of the student ministry. The quality of the student ministry depends upon the graduates. The criterion for evaluating the agriculture is by the fruit, which it produces. If we want to see the quality of UESI, we need to see the quality of graduates too. “Are the graduates committed to the Lord? The graduates must open their homes and mentor the students,” Dr. Daniel challenged the graduates.
Once I visited a national movement and I received this report- a secular company asked the movement ‘to provide 5 engineers! But they replied that ‘we are not training engineers’. But the company’s response was that, ‘your engineers are so efficient; those who are working with you are better.’ We need to see that this certificate was from a secular company! “This is why, you the graduates are important for the national movement. You have an impact on the younger generation. They are watching you. They see your family life, your integrity; your stand with regard to malpractices and your heart for the movement”- Daniel spoke to the hearts of the audience.
I have nothing personal to gain as IFES staff. I am happy to suffer because IFES did a lot in my student life. It’s a challenge to travel every time missing the family and children. I know the way it works among the lives of students, this is why we need to rededicate to student ministry – not just ‘to be called but to be worked’. We need to be excited about this ministry!
Importance of Inter personal Relationships …
We need to have good relationship among our people. God created us to have relationship with Jesus Christ. We read in Genesis 1: 26 – ‘Let’s make man in our image’. So we have been made in the image of God. We cannot have relationship with God if we do not have relationship with others. So it is important to think deeply and to explore our relationship with God and man.
Why God has created us? God himself is relationship. God is relational. That is why Genesis 1:26 says: “Let’s”. It is a decision of three persons – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. God in His existence is a relational God. So we believe in a Trinitarian God. We cannot live without relationships. When the relationship between man and God had broken, it impacted everything. It touched the trees, the moon, Sun, and stars… God wants to restore that relationship.
Let’s turn to Matthew 22:34-40; firstly, God should be at the centre of our relationship. Secondly, our relationship with others – We need to maintain the vertical and horizontal relationships. Once I received a phone call – it’s all about a broken relationship in a family. Where is the relationship in our family life? Are we really following the Bible? Bible says that we should love the wife as ourselves. Do we love our wives as we should? Usually, we are like dictators, may be like non-Christians, we use them as objects.
For eg., when we come back from the office, and see that food is not ready, there will be an outbreak of a war!.
Love our wives – You can be submitted to somebody without love. It’s difficult to love without submission. Love your wife as we like ourselves; it’s quite difficult. Could we as graduates do that? Now life is more difficult. There were less divorce cases among Christians 20-25 years ago. I asked the same question in most of the places. But now many Christians go for divorce. Are we able to resist the pressure? …Culture? I have a friend who is a Judge. He told me: “How fast the Christians are breaking their relationships!”
In Europe, very few are maintaining their relationship. Women want to beautify themselves. They need ornaments. Sometimes, it becomes an issue in the family. The quality of our relationship will make an impact on those around us.
The relationship in the family is a way to share the gospel. The relationship should go beyond the family and to the work place. What is the relationship with other staff? Are you fighting each other? Christian means ‘little Christ’. In the early days, the quality of the relationship was able to influence the people around us.
I have witnessed the “hale-lujah’s and amens” among the members of a church. But it was divided. They used abusive words to each other. In fact, there was a fire inside. When the church leaders fought each other literally, the Spirit of God asked me to go forward and make peace.
Dr. Daniel shared the life of an adopted daughter, though grown up, found out the difference in Christian life by experiencing the same in a Christian family. After some time, she went back and forgave her parents.
What is your relationship, among the staff? This is our mission; it is not an option. We need to have a good relationship in our work places. Our relationship may not be natural because of our sinful nature. I know that each of you is trying for the same.
Certain relatives planned to give something to me at a funeral. Even I thought about it – why? A friend informed me that they had planned to kill me by adding poison in the food which they provide. Let’s turn to Mark 16: 18: “…if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them…”
Later, I went to my village and heard that one of my relatives, who had been against me, became sick. I took him to the hospital and bought medicine for him. Dear brothers, your secretary may be against you… your colleagues may be against you… Somebody wants to take your position. But building relationship is good. The way to build relationship is forgiveness. How many times you forgive? Perhaps, your boss is against you. You can achieve peace only with prayer. The tongue is quite venomous. How do we communicate with each other?
Do we say good things to our wives and children? Our tongue should be monitored. When we speak to people we don’t need to be angry. May God bless us to build up good relationships in our families, in our work places and in society.