A woman went to her doctor one day with a catalogue of complaints about her health. The physician examined her thoroughly and became convinced that nothing physical was wrong with her. He suspected that her problem was her negative outlook on life; her bitterness, her resentment, her grudges, and her self-pity. Every day for her was another "woe-is-me pity party,'' another day to nurse her grievances, feel sorry for herself, and become more and more angry about how, in her mind, she had been mistreated by people and by life in general.
The wise physician took her into a backroom in his office where he kept some of his medicine. He showed her a shelf filled with empty bottles.
"Now," he said, "I can take one of these bottles and fill it with poison - enough poison to kill a human being. Or I could take the same bottle and fill it with medicine - enough medicine to bring down a fever, or ease a throbbing headache, or fight bacteria in one part of the body"
"The important thing is," said the doctor, "that I make the choice. I can fill it with whatever I choose."
Then the doctor looked the woman straight in the eye and said, "Each day that God gives us is basically like one of those empty bottles. We can choose to fill it with love and life-affirming thoughts and attitudes that lift us and other people up, or we can fill it with destructive poisonous thoughts that pull us, and everyone we meet, down. The choice is ours."
I'm sure we all would agree with the doctor 100%. We all know and understand that life is too short for things such as hostility, hatred, vengeance, pettiness, and grudges. We know that those things are spiritual poisons that will absolutely devastate our souls. And yet we also know how easy it is to allow those things to creep in and infect our hearts and souls. And where do these things most often rear their ugly head? They come out in our relationships with other people. Relationships are the graduate school of Christianity. Relationships are where the rubber hits the road. And all of us from time to time need some help with this. Thankfully the Bible gives us the help we need!
On Sunday we will explore some of the fundamental teachings of scripture about relationships.