Our world seems to be increasingly connected, yet Christian relationships are suffering. How can we help our kids get truly connected in good Christian relationships? Read to find out more!
In a world that is so connected, we are severely lacking in true relationships. All of us want our kids to experience connections to a community through sports, co-op, church, theater, you name it. Many of these things exist to promote relationships and community for kids and their families. But sometimes our hope that our kids would have good, solid relationships, and community is dashed by betrayal, hurt feelings, exclusion from the group, or busy schedules. So what can we do about it? How can we help our kids connect with others who share our values in seeking to live Christian lives in this world?
How Your Kids Can Get Connected in Christian Relationships
1) Learning to Obey
The most lonely feeling for me is when I know my relationship with someone isn’t on good terms. If I have a disagreement with a friend, the disconnect that results feels pretty miserable! In a similar way, our relationship with God is the starting point for all our other relationships. If our relationship with Him is off, the rest of our relationships will be off too!
This is why obedience is the starting point for all our relationships! What our kids might not realize is that in order to have good relationships with the people around us, we have to first have a good relationship with God. When we aren’t obeying Him, our relationship with Him will suffer—causing all other relationships in our lives to suffer as well. Of course, we can’t be truly obedient to God without obeying the authorities He has placed in our lives! This is why our kids need to learn the importance of obedience well and learn it early. If they can get this principle down, they’ll have the best foundation for all their future relationships.
Check out our Obey Bible Study here.
2) Stirring Up Love at Home
I remember so many fights between my brother and me in the back seat of our minivan—especially as we drove to church. He would try to take my seat, or I would move his stuff. Often, we would just annoy each other on purpose. Inevitably, my mom would tell us to leave each other alone and not to speak if we couldn’t be kind. Then, as we showed up to church, I would immediately go to my best friend and complain about my awful little brother.
The problem with that scenario is that I didn’t understand that my first responsibility was to love the person God had put very close to me in our home. My relationship with my brother was NOT my primary concern, but it should have been!
Often the temptation is to focus on relationships outside our homes and encourage our kids to make those connections. Yet our homes are the primary places where we practice having good Christian relationships—not where we let ourselves be lazy. Your kids’ closest relationship connections happen in your home. Helping your kids build strong relationships at home is the first step to teaching them how to manage outside the home and maintain those connections. So make sure those relationships are STRONG!
Check out our My Brother’s Keeper Bible Study here.
3) Pursuing Peace with All
Christians have the responsibility to (as much as is in our power) be at peace with everyone we connect with. This includes family, friends, authorities, teachers, bosses, church family, and many others. If your kids are Christians, they have this responsibility too! The wonderful thing is that when they are fulfilling their God-given responsibilities as Christians, Christian relationships and connections will come much more easily and naturally.
Relationships are hard when our kids are constantly fighting or having to call on adults to intervene. But a huge part of seeking peace is having the humility to put someone else’s desires or needs above our own desires. As our kids learn to pursue peace in their home, friendships, and at church, their relationships with other Christians will deepen into connections where trust and respect can thrive.
Teaching your kids the steps to biblical conflict resolution begins at home. Kids learn peaceful conflict resolution with their friends, authority figures, and work situations within the family. By practicing to control their anger, praying over disagreements, and developing habits of resolving conflict biblically, kids will learn to pursue peace in all of their relationships.
Check out our Making Peace Bible Study here.
4) Serving Others
Maybe requiring obedience from your kids is a big enough struggle, let alone encouraging them to serve others! But don’t give up hope—we are all growing and learning. As we encourage our kids to think biblically, we also must trust God to work in their hearts and change them.
Serving must be at the heart of every Christian relationship because it is the essence of Jesus’ call to all Christians! Jesus didn’t just teach this though. He lived it! While on this earth, He served by healing, teaching, and washing His disciples’ feet. In His death, He served by taking our punishment upon Himself. Jesus’ call to follow Him is the call to humble ourselves and to serve others like Christ did (Philippians 2:4-8). Becoming a servant is how we show Christ’s love to all those around us! The closeness that comes from meeting the needs of others is one of the sweetest connections our kids could make.
Check out our Becoming a Servant Bible Study here.
5) Finding Good Friends and Being a Good Friend
We all know the saying that goes, “If you want to have friends, you have to be friendly.” While this saying is common, it’s also completely true. Our kids will not make Christian connections that become deep friendships if they are not working to be good friends themselves! While any relationship takes work and intentionality, Christian relationships require even more.
All Christian relationships should model Christ-like love and sacrifice. These relationships are focused on building each other up to be more like Christ. Once we realize this, it’s pretty easy to see whether our friendships are biblical or not.
If our kids don’t understand that the goal of friendship is to be growing in Christlikeness, their relationships will be disappointing and conflict-filled. By understanding the goal of Christ-centered friendships, they can encourage their friends to grow closer to Christ while also being encouraged and challenged themselves. As parents, we get to help our kids as they navigate their friendships and get connected to Christian friends who desire to love and serve God!
Check out our Navigating Friendships Bible Study here.
What You Can Do Right Now
Each of these 5 disciplines takes work, but you’re not on your own! Our Connected Relationships Series includes 5 Bible studies: Obey, My Brother’s Keeper, Making Peace, Becoming a Servant, and Navigating Friendships. Each of these Bible studies gets your kids into God’s Word so that they learn for themselves how to have Christian relationships that glorify God!
Ever since she was a little girl, listening delightedly as her mom read books and poetry out loud to her, Jessica has been enraptured by the power of words. When she is not reading or scribbling down poems of her own, Jessica can most likely be found hiking with her husband or trying out new recipes. She has yet to discover at what point plants, journals, and coffee mugs become *excessive,* but is sure she can still find room for one or two more. Through her bachelor’s degree in English Literature, opportunities to write for various small publications, and experience as a Staff Writer for Not Consumed Ministries, Jessica has grown in her passion for writing and desire to share that passion with others. As she seeks to show the goodness and beauty of God in her calling as a writer-wife-homemaker, Jessica hopes to encourage you in your relationships with family, friends, and most importantly, in your relationship with Christ.