The Role of Thankfulness in Relationships
The one positive from my short stint in the Girl Scouts is a song that not only stuck with me but that helps frame how I view relationships still today.
“Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”
As friendships change and grow with the seasons of life, marking each one with value and purpose helps appreciate the always fluctuating nature of relationships. Teaching this principle to my boys helped them as they transitioned into adulthood and saw their own relationships impacted accordingly.
Realizing that relationships really reflect the stages of our lives helps understand their role in life’s seasons. More importantly, our relationships provide the medium through which we express the love within us that grows out from our relationship with Christ as he continually develops our new natures. As we practice Making Allowances, learn to Love Others as Ourselves, apply Wisdom in Relationships, and Dress for Success in Relationships, we reflect the increasing love of our continually renewing relationship with Christ.
This understanding cultivates thankfulness for every relationship, however brief, experienced through the years. That thankfulness creates a tie that truly does bind.
Tied by Thankfulness
Thankfulness unifies. As we read through Colossians 3, noting where thankfulness is mentioned, it seems clear that thankfulness seems to describe a characteristic of all the “clothing” talked about in this scripture.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Every time we’re told to live out our new natures, a call to thankfulness is also issued. This tells us that not only do we need to take off the clothing of our old nature (v. 9) and put on the clothing of our new nature (v. 10), we are to also demonstrate thankfulness while we live lives where the love of Christ flows out from within us into our New Nature Relationships.