Relationships: Horizontal = Vertical

relationshipsVertical Comes first

 From Jesus’ daily interactions with people and the parables He taught,  we know that relationships are important. We are created for communication, relationship, and purpose. 

Jesus not only dealt with actions and activities, He dealt with the heart issue at hand. He did that easily because He is God. He sees all and knows all. Folks could not fool Him. We can’t, either.

The way we relate to others tells us what our relationship truly is with our heavenly Father. We can praise and worship all we want, but if we harbor hatred or strife in our hearts toward others, our worship is not true worship. 

This is what it means to have a correct vertical relationship: one that is in tune and right with God.  When we are truly at peace with God, we can live in harmony with others. If you’re struggling with your relationships with others, take a look at your relationship with God.

Horizontal falls in line

Horizontal relationships are with other people: a spouse, children, siblings, friends, co-workers, or neighbors. When we have harmonious  relationships with other people, we will have peace with God. This is because horizontal = vertical. When we have done all we can do to be in harmony and at peace with others, we will be at peace with God. Romans 12:18 instructs us to do “all you can” to live in peace.

The problem is that we often are not willing to do all we can do. We find it soothing to withhold warmth, comradery, forgiveness, and friendship. Our reasons are many and we excuse them as good reasons. Yet, the fact remains, it is our responsibility to do all we can to pursue peace with others.

The bottom line on relationships

We can give many excuses, yet in the light of the cross, those excuses are null and void. God calls us to do everything that we can. You do not need to tell me how hard this is – I already know.

In the sermon on the mount, Jesus addressed the importance of reconciliation horizontally before we come to Him vertically. He said, “If you come to the altar and remember that your brother [or that you have aught against your brother/paraphrase mine] has something against you, leave your gift at the altar and go . . . first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Jesus says, “Forget worship and praise (vertical) – get reconciled first (horizontal) – and then come back and worship.

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