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Emotionally Healthy Relationships: Community Temperature Reading

08-10-2017

Introduction…

Peace is more than the absence of violence. Silence is not peace. Avoidance is not peace. These things are a ceasefire, not peace.

[pic] Last week, we talked about North Korea and how hard it would be to grow up there. South Korea, by contrast, is a wealthy, open country with a strong Christian presence and influence. The two countries are very different!

Between these two nations is a strip of land 4 km wide called the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ for short. It runs across the entire Korean peninsula and serves as a buffer between the two nations. It was established at the end of hostilities during the Korean War in the 1950’s. Technically, that war still hasn’t ended because no peace agreement has been reached. There was an “armistice” agreement, but not a full peace agreement. As part of the armistice agreement, all the troops from both sides had to withdraw 2 km from their current positions on the front line. Both sides withdrawing 2km created a 4 km zone between them. There are strict rules about what soldiers can enter the DMZ and soldiers from either side are not allowed to cross the centre line, 2 km in.

[pic] Within the DMZ there are thousands of landmines. Soldiers patrol on high alert. There have been over 750 casualties within the DMZ over the years. The hostilities between north and south are still high.

There is a DMZ between the two countries, there has not been outright fighting for over 60 years, but there is no peace between North and South Korea.

[pic] In many of our relationships there is a DMZ, but no peace. Many of us, even in church, even Christians, have settled on an armistice, but not a peace agreement. There may not be open fighting, no violence, but there is no peace either. Sometimes these peaceless relationships are at work. Sometimes they are at church. Sometimes they are even in our families and in our homes.

There may not be violence in these relationships, but there is a brittle silence. There is no peace.

Why is this sometimes the case? Why are our relationships not immediately fixed when we accept Jesus? Why do churches, friendships and even Christian families split?

The answer is that even when we accept Jesus, we are still sinful people. We are still broken, even when we find release from the eternal consequences of sin. Jesus immediately saves us from the eternal consequences of our sin when we accept him as Lord, but it takes the Spirit time to work in us to free us from the indwelling power of sin that resides in our hearts.

That is why in the early church the apostles’ wish for the people in their congregations was “grace and peace to you.” We are going to take a look at this in a variety of texts in a few moments. But let me point out that even Christians need grace and peace. Our series on Emotionally Healthy Relationships is about developing tools we can use in our relationships that help us grow in grace and peace when these tools are used in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. These skills will help us develop the ability to have difficult discussions, to voice concerns in a healthy way and to speak up for ourselves while having the other person’s well-being in mind as well.

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