Relationships - November 2011
Interpersonal relationships are one of life’s greatest challenges, but also one of its greatest rewards. This issue aims to help you meet those challenges and reap those rewards.
You probably didn’t understand the law of gravity in scientific terms until someone explained it to you, even though you’ve been subject to it since birth. You became aware of its basic effect as soon as you were old enough to sit up and topple over.—“What goes up must come down.” When you got a little bigger, you learned “The bigger they come, the harder they fall.” Those were tough lessons at a tender age, but they are why you can now handle the good china without breaking it and climb a ladder without breaking your neck. Gravity has benefits...Read more
In one episode of Foyle's War, a TV series set in Great Britain during the early part of World War II, the Nazis had already defeated France and an invasion of Great Britain seemed imminent. The uncertainty, fear, and instinct to take care of themselves and their own led some people to show less concern for others than they would in normal circumstances. Many hoarded. Others stole. Some even committed murder.Read more
I boarded the plane that would take me home from a visit to Toronto, Canada. A gentleman came and sat in the seat beside me, talking on his iPhone. I recognized his South African accent, having attended a conference there the previous year.
Soon enough, Andrew Harrison and I were engaged in a lively conversation that lasted for the rest of the flight. He had a lot of stories to tell, and I mostly listened. I discovered he had experience in outdoor adventure team-building. For several years his job had involved taking teams of coworkers, often executives, on adventurous outings into...Read more
A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.
Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
—Anais Nin (1903–1977)
I was submitting some legal paperwork,and to my dismay there were several discrepancies in my documents. Something that at first appeared easy to rectify instead took several weeks and numerous appointments to sort out.
At one of the offices where I had been sent, I came face to face with Olga. She struck me as efficient, but rather curt. We got off to a rough start. Mine was probably the hundredth problem she had had to deal with that day, and it seemed I would get no sympathy from her. To make matters worse, her computer froze and she had to...Read more
The weather had been dark and rainy, and I felt just as gloomy. It happens to us all, I guess.
As I sat at my desk, I remembered it was the birthday of a longtime friend—a single, middle-aged woman who had dedicated the past 30 years to nursing and loved her work. Knowing that she didn’t have family in town, I decided to give her a call. Sure enough, she was on B shift, scheduled to work late into the evening, and wouldn’t have much of a birthday this year. As always, though, she sounded cheerful and was happy I had...Read more
Good friends are honest even when they know it may hurt initially.
Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.—Proverbs 27:6 NLT
Friends celebrate each other’s victories.
What woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!”—Luke 15:8–9Read more
The Respect Effect
A banker always tossed a coin in the cup of a legless beggar who sat on the street outside the bank. But unlike most people, the banker would always insist on getting one of the pencils the man had beside him. “You are a merchant,” the banker would say, “and I always expect to receive good value from the merchants I do business with.”
One day the legless man was not on the sidewalk. Time passed and the banker forgot about him until he walked into a public building one day. There in the concessions stand sat the...Read more
I stood on the crowded bus, heart pounding and feeling flushed. I had read somewhere that a pregnant woman at rest is in effect working harder than the average person climbing a mountain. But that wasn’t the reason for my rapid heart rate and the resultant “glow.”
I was fuming. Here I was, over seven months pregnant, and no one offered me and my prominent belly their seat. I had been one of the last people to board the bus because nearly everyone else had pushed ahead to secure themselves a seat.Read more
We could all stand to improve in our relations with others,and the Bible has lots of helpful counsel for us on that subject—how to work with others, how to treat them, and so on. It talks about patience, longsuffering, unselfishness, and giving. But it goes on to say that love is the most important thing. “The greatest of these is love.”1 Love is the most important ingredient in our relations with others.Read more
Good communication depends on a few basic principles. Learn these, and you will be well on the way to happy, productive relationships.
Honesty. If you want to get off on the right foot with others, be honest and straightforward from the start.
Tact. It’s important to be honest, but it’s also important to be loving and considerate in your presentation, especially with people who are naturally sensitive or when the subject could be sensitive.Read more
I once told My followers, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”1 So many problems would be solved if people would live by that simple rule. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is the smart thing to do. When you do it—even when it’s to your own hurt at first—it eventually comes back to you in the form of more love and other good things in your own life. When you build your life and character on treating people the way you want to be treated, it’s inevitable that they will...Read more
At about 3 pm on March 11, 2011, the Tohoku earthquake hit the northeastern half of Japan. It was the worst earthquake in that area’s recorded history. Thousands were killed, and hundreds of thousands more were forced to evacuate and move in with friends or into temporary shelters.Read more