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Commentary on "Relationships""



Day 2: Sunday, January 16, 2011 - Completely Humble and Gentle



Today’s lesson is entitled “Completely Humble and Gentle” and cites the story of David and Abigail as an example of humility and gentleness saving the day. When Nabal rudely scorned David’s request for provision, Abigail intervened, asking forgiveness and turning away David’s anger toward Nabal with her own provisions of food and with respectful requests that David not kill her foolish husband. She asked that David consider Nabal’s rudeness to be on her head and begged him not to mark himself with needless blood-guilt or to take his own vengeance.

The lesson concludes with questions about how we might respond to unpleasant people with humbleness and gentleness.



Overall this lesson gives sound if superficial advice for dealing positively with negative people. The problem is, however, that no matter how one determines that he will refuse to rage or retaliate when someone is rude and disrespectful, we simply cannot make our hearts feel the way God feels.

The advice in today’s lesson is only valuable and practical if a person is already born again, alive with faith and trust in Jesus and sealed with the Holy Spirit.

The Teachers’ Guide gives a scenario on p. 45 designed to trigger amusement and knowing grins as it describes as person’s experiences as they get up in the morning, discover their water for tea has been drunk, and then find their bumper with the Christian fish symbol has been hit during the night by a hit-and-run driver. The scenario concludes with this question: “Is your relationship with God strong enough to keep you on the right path in your relationships with other people?”

The question is actually the wrong question. The real question is, are you alive in Jesus, sealed with the Holy Spirit? Only those who have been given Life by the Source of the Life that is the Light of men can actually submit their reactions and relationships to God.

We are not called to make human relationship central in our lives, as the teachers’ guide states. The central point of our lives is to be our union with the Lord Jesus. From this relationship, all other relationships grow.

There is no clear understanding in the lesson of what it means to have a strong enough relationship with God to keep on the right path with our human relationships. What exactly IS a relationship with God from an Adventist perspective? How does one develop one?

The Bible is clear that there is only one way to have a relationship with God: believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:30-31) and be born of the Spirit (John 3:3-6). When we have been made alive in Christ, we finally see that the only way to have successful relationships with people is to submit them to the Lord Jesus.

We are told to pray for our enemies and those who despitefully use us (Matt. 4:55). We are told to consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4):

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Wives are told to submit to their husbands as to the Lord, and husbands are instructed to love their wives as Christ love the church and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:22-27). We are instructed to be kind and tenderhearted toward one another, forgiving one another (Eph 4:32). Children are told to obey their parents, and fathers are not to anger their children (Eph. 6:1-4). Slaves are to be submitted to their masters, serving them as the Lord, while masters are not to lord it over the slaves(Eph 6:5-9).

The only way to fulfill these commands (which, incidentally are given to believers, not to non-born-again unbelievers) is to surrender one’s “rights” to the Lord Jesus and ask Him to show you how to love the other for Him. We are not called to love one another for our own sakes or even for their sakes. We are called to honor the Lord Jesus, doing everything for His sake.

For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. (Romans 14:7-8 ESV)

Contrary to popular teaching, we are not here for each other; we are here for God’s purposes. Only when we are alive in Him can be begin to fulfill the reason God created us, and then we discover that we are not here primarily to serve others but to serve the Lord. As we submit our feelings and relationships to Him, asking Him to be in them and to show us how to love for Him—then we begin to relate to others within His will.



  1. We can’t have good relationships by deciding to be humble and gentle. We will be failures within hours!
  2. We must be born again before we can hope to successfully navigate long-term relationships.
  3. We must submit our “rights” and our feelings to the Lord Jesus and ask Him to show us how to love others for Him.
  4. We are to pray for those who hurt us, and we must trust the Lord Jesus to hold and heal our hearts and to give us His courage to act with integrity toward others.
  5. Godly relationships do not necessarily become easier; within godly relationships, however, we learn to trust God instead of expecting another flawed human to meet our needs.
  6. God heals our hearts and gives us His eternal perspective as we submit and trust Him. Our relationships will become deeper and more rewarding as we learn to see the other person as God sees them, and as we learn to see ourselves as God sees us.




Copyright 2011 All rights reserved. Revised January 15, 2011. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Glendale, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email:

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