Creflo Dollar - How To Restore Broken Relationships - Part 1
Go with me to the book of Proverbs chapter 17. So, this is the third week, I believe, we've been talking about grace-based relationships. We're headed towards the marriage relationships, but one of the things I've been trying to do is to show you that there are three relationships that if we will honor all three of them, or the first two, we'll be in a position to really walk in the third one. First of all, there's a relationship between man and God. Secondly, there's relationship between man and man. And then, thirdly, there's a relationship that you have in marriage.
A lot of the things that we are gonna need to ultimately get to that relationship of marriage, where oneness is established, is the fact that the primary and the most vital relationship in a man, in a human's life, is his or her relationship with God, and in order to have a relationship with God you gotta have a relationship with his Word. And there are lots of people still trying to have a relationship with God without having a relationship with his Word. That's not ever, ever, ever going to work. And so, it's not enough to call yourself a Christian just to get happy, just to get a good emotional high, and just to say, "You know, this is what I traditionally do". You really need to know him. I said you really, really need to know God, and you have a relationship with God by having a relationship with his Word.
If you don't have a relationship with his Word you don't know him, and you'll easily pick up little traditional things that people throw out along the way, and then put a t-shirt on that say you're a Christian. But when you've committed yourself to God's Word, you've committed yourself to God, and then you spend time with God, you begin to see that relationship develop in your life. And from God, he's now able to flow a lotta things into your life supernatural, supernaturally. You know, when you're separated from the Word, you're separated from the supernatural, and there's no way God can do anything supernatural in the life of a human being that's not attached to his Word. The supernatural and the Word of God go hand in hand. So, we're begging God for miracles. We're begging God for supernatural things. That can't happen because there's no relationship with the Word.
And so, that's the first and most primary relationship. The second relationship, now that you have relationship with God, is a friendship, a relationship with one another. And now in that relationship with friendship we take our relationship with God and now we know how to relate with one another. We know how to be a friend. We know how to communicate. We know how to build relationships, because God now will use your friendship to prepare you for the marriage relationship. And what you're gonna find out is that when you get married, if you neglect it, what you could learn, or if you neglected the impartation of friendship, then your marriage is not gonna have a chance, because now you're gonna get married, and then you're gonna try to learn how to be a friend while you're married. But if you hadn't skipped that stage... well, if you hadn't skipped the relationship with God and then the relationship with one another, then when you get married you're just like, "Oh, well, I'm ready for this". Why? Because I've been practicing it in friendship.
And so, what we wanna do is we wanna deal with all the problems of marriage, when some folks didn't even have no business getting married. They were nowhere near no friend. They had some weird attractions that somehow got them there, or some areas where they lacked in their life, as far as loneliness and all that kinda stuff, but this is why I spent the last... this will be the third week talking about friendship, talking about how to establish and maintain godly relationships before you even get married. And so, we spoke of that last week. We're talking about understanding grace-based relationships and today I wanna spend time dealing with how to restore some of those broken relationships. How do you restore a relationship that is in conflict? How do you restore a relationship that is in conflict?
I guarantee you can take every point I list today and take it right on into the marriage. How do I restore a relationship that's in conflict? I'd like to start off in John 17. No, Proverbs 17:17 in the NIV. I wanna look at three translations. Proverbs 17:17 in the NIV, the NLT, and The Message. Proverbs 17:17, NIV. The NIV, NLT, and The Message. Now, I'm really praying that people who are married, people who wanna get married, people who have been divorced, if you hear this stuff on godly friendship, you can fix all that, and it can be glorious just like God intended for it to be, amen? Now, Proverbs 17:17. The NIV says, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity". We're born for that. Friendship is established so that when adversity comes there's somebody there in the midst of adversity. You don't leave your friend when adversity comes. "Oh, I'm scared that if I hang around them I'm gonna be embarrassed".
A friend is born for adversity, and so when everybody else is gone a friend is still there. A friend is still there, and y'all know the place where we don't see that where we should be seeing that is in church. How is that? How do we not see that in church? And yet a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. So, if you have people in your life that you say they're your friends, and then some adversity comes in their life, just be there. That's the best thing you can do as a friend. You're there. You're gonna be there in times of adversity. Now look at this same Scripture in the NLT. Each one of 'em add just a little bit more. The NLT said, "A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need".
A friend is always loyal, or reliable, or they're always true. A friend is faithful, a friend is reliable, and so in any friendships that you have can we see the characteristics of loyalty, reliability, and faithfulness in that friendship? And he says a brother is born to help in a time of need. Have there been, in your friendships that you've established, a time where there was some need there and you could help? That's what a friend is. And notice if you can establish that right in friendship, same thing applies in the marriage when you get there.
Now look at The Message translation. Proverbs 17:17. And The Message translation says, "Friends love through all kinds of weather". They love through all kinds of weather. I mean, if you have a friendship that's only considered a friendship when things are good but when the storms of life come they don't have time to be bothered, it's kinda like that illustration I shared with you in the Bible, where, you know, this friend showed up because he had a friend show up. And he went to his friend's house, and he knocked on the door to see if he could borrow some food because his friends were hungry, and the guy said, "We sleep, we're in bed. I ain't coming to no door". And Jesus just said, "I'm not gonna be that kinda friend". Jesus said that's not a friend. He says, "I'm not gonna be the kinda friend where you've got to knock, knock, knock and you got to beg, beg, beg".
The word used there was "importunity," and that's having to beg for something. He says, "I'm a friend. You don't have to beg me," and yet in religion we've taught people we gotta beg God. "Just gotta keep knocking, keep knocking, keep knock". No, no, God's a friend. You can ask him one time, and he heard you. Are you listening to me? He said, "Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble". You know what he's saying here? He said your friend should be treated, if they're your friend that the commitment you have to a family should be similar to the commitment you have to that friend, and yet it's Christian people who have to get a hold of that. Not the world. The world's looking at us to see how we treat one another.
See, it can't be okay that we can come to church and jerk, jiggle, and shake, rattle and roll, and we don't even know how to be friends. What is that? We're at church, and we don't even know how to be friends. All your friends are from somewhere else 'cause we don't know how to establish friendships, to love with unconditional love. And the Bible says they'll know us by the love that we have one for another. And I'm amazed, but when I just kinda propped my eyes open I thought, "Dude, we should be seeing that, like, big time in church. Why is that not so"? Why is it that I've identified the greatest enemies are people in church that will quit speaking to you and won't have nothing else to say to you. I'm gonna talk about that, how to break that silent treatment, so I better hurry up and get going, amen?
So, you know, grace-based relationships and there are some things that we do in order to deal with relationships that are in conflict. Now, I would ask you to raise your hands if you've ever experienced conflict in relationship, but that's everybody. I ain't got to ask you, 'cause if you raised your hand I have to cast that lying devil out you. And those of you at home, I can't see you at home, but don't you put that hand up. You have if you've been married or if you know somebody or if you got family, but what I wanna talk about today is I wanna talk about those seven actions of how to deal effectively with conflicts in relationships. I wanna show you how to build better relationships. I wanna show you how to restore and reconcile broken relationships, so today is gonna be an opportunity for you to take hold of some things and say, "Okay, I'm gonna use this. I'm gonna use this".
And some of you, like me, some, you know, it's okay to take the time you need to get healed. That's very important. There are some relationships I need to get healed from, make sure that I don't go in with a wound that's still exposed. You know, it's all right to understand you need to be healed. That was trauma, that was traumatic. I still love you, but I need a healing period. See, I don't want you to be so deep. You're all broken, messed up, wounds showing everywhere, and you think you're gonna apply this and be all right. Now, you're gonna go in there two seconds 'cause that wound's showing. "Oh, no, no, no. See, that's what you said the last time, and I ain't about it". You're gonna be cussing and all that 'cause you're not ready. Give yourself time to heal and at least let the scab grow so when it falls out you ready to go.
Now, other people want you to hurry up and do it right quick. I ain't ready right now. I ain't ready right now 'cause I'm a human being with the Holy Ghost. I ain't ready right now. By myself I'm all right, but when I see you that demon, that devil try to come back in me. Like, I ain't ready, I ain't ready right now. Can I get a witness? Don't say nothing. Okay, so we wanna look at it. This is something you can use for the future. It's something you can use in your marriages. It's something you can use for friendships, and then remember what I said a couple weeks ago it's time to allow the Holy Spirit to connect you with who you need to be with. Sometimes, it's a result of you trying to establish something that didn't need to be established. You follow what I'm saying? And let him do that, and we got to learn how to do this in church. The world is looking at us. They are in a mess. They are demon-possessed. Y'all gotta get ready. We got a lotta devils to cast out.
Some y'all don't even believe that. These people, the whole year 2020 in this pandemic, there was a spirit of oppression that came over people, and demons sit ready, ready, looking for oppressed people that they can come in and cause more problems. And we are the body of Christ, clothed with an enormous amount of power, and some of those people are gonna depend on you. And some of your friends that you ain't spoken gonna depend on you to cast the devil out. You don't counsel a devil out. Some of them devils you just got to cast out. "Well, the Bible don't say that". What Bible are you reading? It's all over in the New Testament. "I've given you authority to cast out devils, to lay hands on the sick, to raise the dead". I'm trying to get you to just start believing the Bible again. Amen?
Now let's get started. Seven actions to dealing with conflicts in relationships. We started with one. I wanna review that. The very first point, the starting point, is love, is love. Now, you know, here's what I thought about it. I'm like, "Well, you know, what if I don't love 'em yet"? No, no, no, I'm gonna show you that there are two types of love that you use to reconcile a conflicted relationship, but you start with love. Now, many problems in conflicted relationships involve power struggles. They involve people feeling excluded, and they involve the absence of brotherly affection, but to fix these problems it's gonna require agape love and phileo love. Those two together will help to reconcile a conflicted relationship.
Now lemme give you, those are two Greek words for love, but they are different in what they mean. The first, agape love, is simply unconditional love. This love is not based on a merit of the person's love that you love, but it's rather unconditional and is based on them as an image bearer of Christ. So, in other words, because you're born-again I love you without any conditions to love you. I love you because I accept you as one who's a bearer of Christ. And what happens with this, this love is kind. This love is generous. It continues to give even when the other is unkind. It continues to give even when the other is unresponsive. It continues to give even when the other is unworthy. It only desires good things for the other, and it is compassionate, so this agape love is, you know, as Christians, as bearers of Christ, I choose to love you without any reason. I choose it, you're a part of me. We're a part of the body.
I choose to love you unconditional, which means I choose to be kind to you. I choose to be kind to you when you're not kind to me. I choose to. Because you are an image bearer of Christ, when you're not responsive, when it seems like you're unworthy, I choose to do that. I chose to do that before I knew all of your things, before I knew all this, the issues that you have. I chose to love you. It's kinda like the grace of God. It's unmerited favor. We didn't do anything to deserve it. Agape love is just like that. You don't do anything to deserve it. You don't have to do anything to deserve my love. By pure fact I'm a Christian and you are, too, I love you agape-style. Now, that's gotta be straightened out, because I don't think a lotta Christians understand that. You come up talking about, "Hey, man. We love you". "I don't know you".
See, you don't understand. You don't understand agape love. Agape love is the fact that you go to my church and you're a Christian, I love you, and so it's gotta start there. So, when conflict comes you gotta go back to the fact that "Wait a minute, this is unconditional love". And as soon as conflict shows up I now want to love you based on conditions, and so I decide not to love you because a conflict has come. And you gotta remind yourself, "Wait a minute. I didn't start loving you because you deserved it or you were cool or that. I loved you because you were image bearer, so that I don't need to love you less or get away from agape loving you because now I find out that you got a few issues". Everybody got some issues. Are you listening to me?
Now, here's the second love that you need to combine with agape: phileo. Now, that's a deep, intimate friendship that has been built over time. So, I make a decision to love you unconditionally and that's enough to begin to work the relationship, and so now I am working a relationship that over time begins to give birth to a compassionate friendship, a caring about someone as a person or a brother. And that agape brings you to that place of caring about someone and being very serious about caring about someone, and so what happens, if you put these two loves together, agape and phileo, then reconciliation. Listen to me. It requires both agape and phileo love being expressed in order to resolve problems in conflicted relationships. So, even in a marriage, I mean, "You know, well, I don't wanna be with you no more, I can't stand you".
Well, what happened to agape? You're a Christian, agape first. You're still a Christian, and you can love 'em unconditionally, and then, y'all been married long enough to have a friendship. See, I ain't got nothing else, I have no question to ask when somebody wanna get divorced real quick. My next question is, "What's their name"? 'Cause what's your motivation for wanting to not apply two things that will work? What's your motivation to not want to be a friend of somebody that's a part of the body of Christ? I mean, at least respectful, just caring enough to be considerate of somebody's feelings, and we gotta learn how to do that. The world is acting the way they acting because they been checking out how we been acting. Do you understand that?
So, we have to accept some responsibility. It ain't all the devil. It's Christian people who refuse to operate according to the standards of character that God has laid out in his Word, and we busy trying to get revelation, and we busy trying to, and we don't even know how to relate with one another. We don't know how to have relations. I'm thinking about Eddie Murphy, and y'all know what I'm talking about, not them relations. Philippians chapter 2, verses 2 through 4 in the NIV. Let's look at that. I wanna show you three Scriptures before I go to the second one. Philippians 2:2-4, NIV, and then Romans 12:9 and 10, NLT, and then 1 Peter 4:8 in the Amplified.
Let's look at Philippians 2:2-4. Now I've got to relate all this to Scripture so you understand I'm not just talking. "Well, that's just your opinion". I'm realizing that a lotta mistakes of my past were because I didn't know enough. And a lotta times people are wondering, "Why is my life going like this"? It's you don't know enough. You don't know enough. "Well, I did all I know to do". Maybe you didn't know enough, and I learned the more I spent time with God, the more I spent time in his Word, I begin to understand more than what I understood before. And people don't wanna hear that. I don't know what it is about everybody being an expert in the Bible and everybody being an expert in life, all right? So, watch these Scriptures. Philippians 2, verse 2 in the NIV. He says, "Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love," whoa.
The only kinda love I know that we can all have in equality is agape. Having a like mind and having the same love. "Being one in spirit and being one in mind". Verse 3, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, do it in humilities," bowing in the knee to God and his Word, "value others above yourself". That's big, that's big. As Christians are we practicing valuing other people above ourself? That's big. Be careful when you say amen to that, because that's big. That challenges you. That causes you to grow and mature more, when you begin to think, "I want to value people more than myself". And then, he says, "Not looking to your own interests but each of you the interests of the other". He says it's gonna be very, very difficult for you to value somebody above yourself if you're looking at your own interests.
You can't value people above yourself if you're focused on your own interests, and so that's gonna be challenging you, again, to humble yourself and to begin to value people by looking at the interests of other people before you look at you. But, for the most part, whoo, the church. I don't know. We let the world and that self-centeredness come into the church, and it robbed us of a servanthood culture, where we are no longer interested in giving other people the advantage. We have so much focus on our own interests that we can't even focus on the interests of others, not even understand that real success, even in business world, comes when you start focusing in on, "What can I do to make somebody else's life better or easier"? Those are the richest businesspeople, the greatest businesses you have. What can I do to focus on making somebody's life better or easy? See, now you're on the same page with God.