Interpersonal Relationships

Jesus follows up the first and greatest commandment (see Inner Peace) with the second commandment: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Follow the link to read all of Matthew 22. Being at peace with yourself and with God flows seamlessly into love for others.

“Peace grows out of love.”
Christian Burkholder, 1792,
early Mennonite bishop in Lancaster, Pa.

At least, that is the way it is supposed to happen. Loving others isn’t necessarily easy. We seem to easily get into conflict with the people closest to us–those we love the most! Forget living at peace with the world–I want to live in peace at home! So how do we do that? What does this mean for family roles, discipline, and decision making?

If you explore the Jesus story you begin to notice how Jesus respected other people, whether they were male or female, young or old. Interactions suggest that forgiveness, honesty, love, seeking truth, and not harboring anger are all a part of living in this kind of relationship. Jesus suggests that loving this deeply may lead one to sacrifice in one’s own life. Strikingly, Jesus also suggested that following him could put tension in families. In the same way, loyalty to Jesus over nation may cause tension with neighbors.

One of the hardest things about living in peace with others is to seek forgiveness and reconciliation with people you are angry with. Reconciliation and forgiveness are not easy. It may take years to get to the place where it is possible. One way to work at reconciliation is outlined in “Agreeing and Disagreeing in Love.