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Religion Column

February 26, 2011

A good relationship with God means a good relationship with each other

The Old Testament book of Proverbs was written, under God's inspiration, by King Solomon, son of King David.

To open the book, Solomon clearly states the purposes of the book. His desire is that these proverbs will help his readers be more open to receive instruction and apply it to their lives, thereby becoming better able to have a good relationship with God.

After that six-verse introduction, it is interesting to note that the very first proverb is indeed the starting place. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." True wisdom begins with a correct relationship with God. Solomon's father, David, wrote in Psalm 23 that "the Lord is my Shepherd." Here, again, a relationship with God is first. If he is our shepherd, by association, we are his sheep.

It is fairly common knowledge that sheep are pretty helpless when on their own. We too, as God's "sheep," need to rely on him for guidance. As we do, we can be at peace just as the sheep in the Psalm are made by God to "lie down in green pastures." When we become rebellious, when we get off the right track, we may need to be "broken" as renegade sheep were. A sheep who constantly wandered might have had a leg deliberately broken by the shepherd as the only cure for the wandering. Our physical legs may not be broken, but many times we reap the sad results of our poor choices. When we stray from God, we will likely abandon His standards and set up our own. When this occurs, everything becomes relative _ now there are no rights and wrongs. It's all about relationship.

With everyone having his/her own standards, it becomes "judgmental" when one tries to share with others, when our standards are all different. Since there is no set standard, everything suddenly becomes acceptable, nothing can be wrong and sin no longer exists.

When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, he quoted from the Old Testament, (Deuteronomy 6:5) saying, "Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength and with all thy mind," (see Luke 10:27).

He then adds, "and thy neighbor as thyself." Here, again, He reminds us that in order to have a good relationship with others, we must first have a solid relationship with God (Leviticus 19:18).

Try to imagine a triangle with God at the top, you and another person at the bottoms of the two sides. As each of you climb a side to get closer to God, you are also getting closer to one another. It's all about relationships.

As our relationship with God deepens, our relationship with others improves. We can begin to better understand the parable of the goodsSamaritan. If you remember, the man from Jerusalem lay dying, and his fellow men (both officials in the church) passed by him "on the other side of the road." It was a Samaritan who came to his aid. This parable was Jesus' answer to the question, "Who is my neighbor?" If our relationship with God is strong, any person in need becomes our neighbor, whom we are to love as ourselves. It's all about relationships.

Elliot DuBois is a deacon in the Maryland Baptist Church, and Pat DuBois is the pianist for the church.

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