By Leo Hellyer
2020 is almost a thing of the past – finally – and 2021 is approaching quickly. As Christian men, we have an opportunity to focus our efforts on exploring new relations and how that can affect the society around us. Instead of harboring ill will or misunderstanding about people who believe differently than us, or who we do not understand for whatever reason, we need to be building relationships. Through relationships, communication, understanding and empathy can take place.
“Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” – Colossians 3:14
Relationships are how unity is built up. When we are in relationship with someone, we respect them and their opinion, even if it does not align perfectly with our opinions, background, and politics. After all, we are all Children of the Living God. God loves all of us. He doesn’t like everything we do, but He loves us. All of us.
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.” – Romans 12:10
When we have established a relationship with someone, we are more inclined to treat them with respect and brotherly love. We are more likely to have tough, honest, and challenging conversations while actually listening to each other’s thoughts and feelings because we have invested time and energy into the relationship. If we are living out our Christianity, we will have a number of friends who are not Christian. If we are striving to be more and more Christ-like every day, we won’t just huddle around other believers; we will also reach out to the lost. When Jesus was on the Earth, He sought out the less fortunate, the hurting, the lonely, the prostitute, and the challenged.
We need to build relationships with all of the people God brings across our path. These meetings are not just coincidences; they are Divine Appointments. If you see things around you that you do not like or agree with, then take steps to bring about change. Christian men bring about change through relationship, understanding, prayer, compassion, and involvement. We are God’s hands and feet on this Earth.
God created mankind to have relationship with Him. If we are in relationship with God, then we will want to also be in relationship with others He has created and loves. When we encounter people around us who have different beliefs, priorities, motivations, or commitments, we need to respond to them as God responds to us. God unconditionally loves us, even though He doesn’t like some of the things we do. We can love our brothers and sisters even while we don’t like some of what they do or believe.
Although the United States as a whole has some issues, we still live in the greatest nation in the world. As Christian men of God, we need to do everything that we can to build our nation up. We need to build and not destroy. We need to communicate in love, cooperate, and use diplomacy in bringing about change. As more and more interpersonal relationships are built, the better our nation will become.
We have a lot of past mistakes and injustices to move past as a nation, and maybe as individuals. I think that we need to learn from our past, and move from our past, but I don’t think that it is wise to destroy the history of our past generations and pretend it does not exist. To move forward, we need to know where we came from.
“So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” – Romans 14:19
Let’s begin praying now that 2021 will be the year that our nation truly comes to God. Let’s pray for leadership that seeks God’s direction as they make decisions. Let’s pray that God will use each of us, doing whatever it is that He wants us to do, wherever He wants us to do it, to bring a revival to our nation. God will probably take some of us out of our “comfort zones,” but we will be better off for it.
God has a wonderful plan for us as individuals, and for the United States as a nation, in 2021. We may not fully understand His plan, but we must remember, He is in control.
I believe that part of His plan is for His people to rise up and be heard and seen. Throughout 2020 we have heard and seen a lot from those who wish to destroy much of what has been built. I sense God calling His people. For us to be seen and heard, we must figuratively tear down the walls between us and those who would like to physically tear down the walls of our communities.
We need to build bridges that span the chasm that separates us. Once again, this can only be done through relationship, love, and compassion. We absolutely must have prayer warriors, but we also must get out of our church buildings and prayer closets and be seen and heard, presenting the truth, hope, and power of God Almighty throughout our communities.
We are called to be united and unified. Once again this is best done through building relationships with those who cross our path.
“… walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:1-3
Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and has been married to his wife Norma for more than 45 years. The couple volunteered with the Boise FamilyLife Ministry Team for 20 years. Leo has also been serving with Boise Rescue Mission Ministries for 20 years and is currently serving at the River of Life Rescue Mission. He is president and chief firearms instructor with Helping Hands Firearms Training LLC. If you have questions about Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, Leo may be reached at [email protected] or 208-340-5544.