Skip to main content

Relationships are central to our lives. Yet most of us are still struggling when it comes to cultivating, watering, restoring, and growing relationships. Studies show that intimate and interpersonal relationships are declining as social media isolates people more and more. Many people are working on being known widely (followership) while doing little to have depth and intimacy in their relationships. This is the case also with our relationship with God. 

In most cases, our spiritual lives do not affect our relationships. However, our relationships not only affect our spiritual lives but also have the potential to destroy it. We have overcome the devil in many battles, except in our relationships. This is one area where the enemy keeps winning in the life of many believers.

The mistakes we commit in relationships are detrimental to our walk with God. It is by the grace of God that we are here today, still believing. Most of our friends and the people we know did not make it out of their relationship errors. However, you and I made it by the grace of God but we need to get it right. 

Relationships do not create destiny, but they are the necessary means to it. As much as the right relationship can propel you to your destiny, wrong relationships can destroy your path to your destiny. Hence, we should know that the devil uses relationships to steal, kill, and destroy people’s lives. 

Many Christian marriages end in divorce, many Christian friendships end bitterly, and many Christians fail to reconcile with their family members. The question is, “how can we get it right?” This article is not exhaustive, but it seeks to highlight the reality of our human nature, the state of the world we live in, and the impact these two things have on our attempt to love and enjoy relationships.


Broken relationships are caused by our brokenness. Our brokenness comes from our sinful nature. Thus, when dealing with people who hurt us, we should be mindful of the fact that it is not only about their personalities but deep down, it is about their sinful nature. Jesus demonstrated this fact when they did all kinds of evil to Him; His response was, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing…” Luke 23:34. Jesus acknowledged the ignorance of their sinfulness, but did not judge them based on their personality or character. 

It all started with the fall of Adam and Eve. Sin brought distraction to all human relations. In Genesis 3:10-20, we see a collapse of all relationships that hold creation together:

  1. Brokenness within self: Self-destruction and self-conflict. Genesis 3:9-10.
  2. Brokenness between man and woman: Relational dysfunction. Genesis 3:11-12.
  3. Brokenness between humankind and the environment/nature: Environmental dysfunction. Genesis 3:17-19.
  4. Brokenness between humankind and God’s presence: Spiritual dysfunction. Genesis 3:22-23.

Innately, humanity has enmity towards self and towards each other. It is hostile to the environment, and it is far from God. The fallen Adam demonstrated his brokenness in how he responded to God. Adam blamed Eve for his shortcomings and found fault in Eve; he used that to talk himself out of what he did. A broken person does not take ownership of anything, there is always a reason to justify themselves. This goes to show that if you are not justified by God, then you will feel a need to constantly justify yourself.

We find ourselves in this state because of the fallen nature. According to the Bible, we are all born in sin. We have fallen short of God’s glory, Romans 3:23. Thus, spiritually, we are hopeless. We cannot help but have broken relationships. Until we go back to God and fix things with Him as our creator. It will take the regeneration of our spirit and transformation of our soul to build life-giving relationships. Reconciling with God is the first thing we must do, but it is not the only thing necessary to heal our brokenness.


We are all born into existing relationships, whether good or bad. Most of us are born and raised in broken families, which then informs our own sense of incompleteness in relation to and with others. Thus, relationships start with your upbringing. How you grow up informs and colours how you will interact with the world. An American poet Louise Elisabeth Gluck wrote, “We see the world once, when we are children and the rest of life is memory to what we saw.” What this means is that you are likely to repeat the things you were exposed to while growing up, even when you used to hate those things. What you were exposed to growing up informs how you live your life. We live our lives through our lenses framed by our childhood (trauma).

In our childhood, we receive all the tools we will use to navigate life, good or bad, knowing or unknowingly, and circumstantial or intentional. Some situations go as far as programming us in a certain way. In most cases, how you respond to things is determined by how you grew up. This will then inform the quality of your relationships. This is also what creates patterns and habits that become strongholds in our adult life. 

If not confronted with honesty and openness, we remain those traumatised children. We can grow up without outgrowing our childhood experiences. As a result, we will hurt ourselves, accept being hurt by others, and hurt those we claim to love.


We live in a fallen world, meaning nothing works perfectly as intended by God. The functionality of things and people is highly compromised by sin and thus complicated. No matter how much we try to balance things, we are constantly reminded that we are imperfect and we live in an unstable world. 

Relationships demand us to love and require us to be open to be loved. The tragedy here is that we are imperfect in both giving and receiving love. This dilemma of love in all our relationships is articulated by Jonathan Edwards (1703– 1758) in his sermon “Heaven, a world of love.” From this sermon, Pastor Timothy Keller lists 5 points to prove that in this world, we will always struggle to love and be loved: 

  1. We all want to be loved for our own sake. We love people for our benefits. Thus, we long for the love that we cannot give to each other. 
  2. We cannot express our love adequately and completely. We feel clogged and fearful; we never tell the people we love that we love them. 
  3. We want to love mutually, but we cannot. People don’t love you the same way you love them and you also love people differently from how they love you. We never get what we give in the same proportion. 
  4. You want the people you love to be happy. Their unhappiness makes you unhappy because you love them. So, we wish people will always be happy, but that is not possible. 
  5. We never want to say goodbye to those we love. We don’t want people we love to die. But death is inevitable and thus we lose people we love. 

The point Jonathan Edwards brings to light in his sermon is the fact that perfect love only exists in God and will be fully expressed and experienced in heaven. What we want from each other in relationships we will not fully get because, here on earth, love cannot be fully experienced. To my point, we are in a fallen world and we are imperfect. Thus, we need to be very considerate, forgiving, and kind to each other. If we are going to succeed, we must give more and demand less in relationships.

What we want from each other can only be truly found in God. We can do our best, but we will always do or say something that hinders us from living up to the standard of love in relationships. We cannot live without love and relationships, however, our imperfection makes it almost impossible for us to enjoy loving and being loved in relationships.

Our hope is in Jesus Christ. He is the blueprint of what love is in its truest form. I believe that when we look upon Christ, we will learn and grow in how to love and enjoy relationships. 


The first thing we observe about Jesus Christ is that He upholds His relationship with the Father higher than any relationship. Meaning, His relationship with God informed and determined all His relations. “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” John 5:30. 

Jesus is the perfect blueprint for all relationships. In Him, we are shown the way of love, sacrifice, and the true meaning of living with others. 


  • Love: Love your neighbour as you love yourself, Matthew 22:37
  • Be selfless: Do nothing out of selfishness, Philippians 2:3-4.
  • Be considerate: Bear with the failings of the weak, Romans 15:1-4.  
  • Be kind: Care for everyone and do so even more to your fellow Christians, Galatians 6:10.
  • Be Humble: Be quick to forgive and to ask for forgiveness, James 4:10.

Your personal relationship with God is the highest form of relationship from which all other relationships must follow. Meaning, your relationship with God sets a standard for all other relationships. God becomes your reason for your reactions. What you say and do to others is dependent on who God is to you and to them. You do not treat people according to what they “deserve” but according to what the Bible says they deserve. God is the standard, not people. 


God reveals Himself in and through relationships. Yahweh is a congregational God. He is in the midst of His people. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20. We are not called to avoid relationships, but to embrace them. The strength of a relationship is in its ability to reveal God in all circumstances, Romans 12:15. 

The first community we are introduced to is our family. You do not choose your family, God does and it’s upon you to honour God by loving, respecting, and embracing your family members no matter the given circumstances. Your church members and friends are your secondary family and not primary family, and you should perceive them as such. God can use our friendships and church associations to supplement what we never had in our families, but that does not mean you should abandon the responsibility and accountability of being a meaningful part of your family. Jesus said, “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:46-50. This should not be taken as if Jesus disowned his family for ministry. You are called to love, care and forgive your family members irrespective of the background of their belief. 

But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.” 1 Timothy 5:8. 

As much as we are spiritual beings, we are equally relational beings. God made us in connection with others. Our success in life and ministry is directly linked to people. God places people on our journey for a reason; we cannot afford to mistreat God-ordained relationships. Equally, we must discern relationships that are used by the enemy to steal, kill, and destroy our lives. 


Let us admit that by ourselves, we cannot produce or build life-giving relationships. We need the Lord, Jesus Christ. He is the reason we love and desire to enjoy all relationships. We seek to obey Christ in all our relationships and that becomes the reason to love, to forgive, and to enjoy relationships. We need to build our relationships upon the rock (to do what Jesus said), and not on the sand (opinions based on culture and feelings) Matthew 7:24-26. This is to say, we now live to please Christ with our relationships, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15. Thus, the reason I stay or leave a relationship is based on my desire to exalt Christ. Primarily, I am in this to glorify God, and my feelings (how I feel) become secondary. This is the essence of a Christ exalting life! 

Thabang T. Letsie

Pastor at Resolved Church in Pretoria, South Africa. Life is more meaningful when lived with eternal perspective: the gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE and not just life. I love reading, writing, and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.


  • Prince says:

    You really write well Pastor. I can always relate to your articles.

  • Eric Magwanyana says:

    Great article Moruti!

    The truths revealed about our humanness and sinfulness are hard to swallow. Seeing our imperfections is humbling. But thank you for pointing us to Christ as “the perfect blueprint for all relationships”. I learn that we have an opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ through the imperfections of others. Our brokenness makes us demand more from others, but Christ’s love demands that we love more.

    May God teach us to make Him “the standard, not people” in our relationships. May our relationship with God, be restored, in order to have better relationships with others and with the environment, we live in.

  • Jerry says:

    ‘We can grow up without outgrowing our childhood experiences. ‘

    What a loaded yet scary statement, may God heal us from childhood traumas

  • Zakithi Machaka says:

    God is the standard of our relationships and not people!
    This definitely changes the narrative of friendships and now it not only includes, but it even puts God at the centre of it. In every part of our lives the Lord is meant to take centre stage, in our careers, our choices, thoughts, desires and even in our relationships. He is the centre of it all.

    • Yeeeees, this is how we live for God… when everything about us and through us comes from our relationship with God. Life flows from that relationship and waters all other relationships.

      Thank you so much for reading and leaving this powerful commentary.

  • Relebohile says:

    Oooohhh my God! , I am in awe to hear that my relationship with God will determine all other relationships that I have with other people because my reactions step from how I perceive God

    But mostly the loudest voice in this article to me is if I am a follower of Christ then I need to be “Selfless”

    Thank you very much Moruti for the words of wisdom Indeed this is really a life changing Article

Leave a Reply