“It’s been like giving CPR for a year straight and still getting no response.”
Trying to revive a relationship that is on life support is tiring. Imaging pumping your arms, putting air into their lungs for a long time. How does that leave you? Physically drained, mentally exhausted, spiritually spent. What else do you have left to give?
There are no vitals. It’s flatlining. There’s no ounce of life. You have given everything humanly possible to keep them alive. But they're still lying there, no sign of life.
As you bring yourself from your knees to your feet, legs cramped from spending hours crouched close to the ground, hovering over the lifeless body, you come to realise that you spent too much time in that position.
You spent too much time trying to revive something that wasn’t destined for revival.
What caused this relationship to lapse into a state of unconsciousness?
Was there a knock out punch? A burst of anger from one party to cause the other to fall to the ground? Or was it simply a continued lack of encouragement, lack of communication that left your relationship on life support?
2 Corinthians chapter 13, verses 9-11
“We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority - the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down. Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”
Paul is aiming these words at the church in Corinth. Amongst this group of believers in Christ are false teachers, throwing a cat amongst the pigeons so to speak.
Paul is encouraging the group, the church in Corinth to work things out with one another, get along to experience peace.
It’s rare to have 100% satisfaction in any relationship, regardless of if its romantic or friendship, as we are all different. We are created in God’s image, but we are made up of different genetics, experiences and culture, making us a vast array of different people. This is either a blessing or burdensome. I’m guessing if you're reading this than you've experienced some dissatisfaction in at least one relationship in your life.
But Paul has an important message for us. That is, full restoration. Not partial restoration, not making a halfhearted attempt at reconciliation, but full reconciliation.
Choices in responding
As with most things in life, we actually have a choice in how we can respond. We can build others up, or we can tear them down. We can choose to encourage one another, or discourage them in their life. We can be of one mind with one another in our beliefs or be continually disagreeable, hostile and opposed to make a point. But what are our intentions in doing this?
The answer in how to restore relationships is in 2 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 9, where Paul is telling the church to be glad when we are weak as God is strong. Only God has the power to bring full restoration and healing to relationships.
As we are trying to engage in CPR in relationships in our life, it is us pumping our arms, taking deep breaths attempting to revive the relationship. But God is the author and creator, the starter and finisher. Only he can bring 100% satisfaction and restoration. So as you continue to do everything humanly possible to restore relationship, give it over to God in prayer. For when we are weak he is strong. We will tire when we continue to administer CPR to our relationships, but that's when God takes over.
Want to experience God’s love and peace in your relationships? The answer is simple; Encourage one another, build each other up, live in peace and be of one mind.
If you're in relationship with others who tear you down, discourage your progress and create hostility, be prepared to be doing CPR the rest of your relationship until it comes to pass.
Just because you are the first responder to the incident and administering first aid, doesn't mean you have to continue to do it until there's a final outcome. Give it over to the doctor, the healer, the creator. He doesn't want partial restoration for your relationships, he want you to experience his love and with this his peace and full restoration.
Fiona Mackenzie is coffee drinking, sport loving, theology studying daughter of God. She hails from Newcastle, NSW, making the most of the great outdoors, beach and coastal lifestyle.