© 1999 James A. Fowler

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I. Biblical references

     A. There are no direct references to "interpersonal relationships"
     B. The Bible is full of indirect references to relationships between persons
         1. Garden of Eden - Adam and Eve - Gen. 2,3
         2. Ten commandments - Exod. 20:2-17
              a. First four commandments - relationship with God
              b. Last six commandments - relationships with other people
         3. New covenant commandments of love
              a. Love God - Matt. 22:37-40
              b. Love your neighbor as yourself - Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 5:14
         4. New heaven and earth - Rev. 21:1-8

II. God's intent for interpersonal relationships.

    A. The Trinity is the perfect model for interpersonal relationships.
         1. The three persons of the Godhead interact in perfect interpersonal relationship.
         2. The perfect character of God is expressed interpersonally to the other persons of the               Godhead.
              a. Love
              b. Relational personhood
    B. Ideal human interpersonal relationships require the Divine character expressed through human          behavior toward others.
    C. The perfect and ideal community of interpersonal relationships must be based on the          common-unity of God's presence and the expression of His character toward one another.

III. Broken personal relationships attributable to

    A. Selfishness - Gal. 5:19-21; Phil. 2:3,4
    B. Lack of communication - Eph. 4:

IV. Differing personalities will tend to exhibit differing SELF-ishness patterns that are     detrimental to their interpersonal relationships.

    A. "S" pattern
         1. tends to dominate and intimidate others
         2. uses people to accomplish own objectives
         3. intolerant of imperfection and weakness in others
    B. "E" pattern
         1. willing to compromise in order to be liked by others
         2. always talking; not a good listener
         3. tends to exaggerate; less than truthful
    C. "L" pattern
         1. passive, rather than active participants
         2. non-confrontational; won't address problems
         3. manipulate by claiming inadequacy, lack of time or energy
    D. "F" pattern
         1. think their way, procedure, technique is the only way
         2. dogmatic about their belief-system being "right"
         3. content more important than people

V. World-system contrary to God's intent for interpersonal relationships

    A. Psychological
         1. Blame/victimization
         2. Individualism
         3. Selfism, narcissism
    B. Religious
         1. Authoritarianism
         2. Absolutism
         3. Activism
         4. Elitism
    C. Political
         1. Ideological power struggles
         2. Authoritarianism
         3. Isolationism
    D. Financial
         1. Materialism, covetousness; "use people, love things"
         2. Success orientation

VI. Proper interpersonal relationships will acknowledge, accept and respect differing     positional roles.

    A. God and man
         1. Christ is Lord - I Pet. 3:15
         2. Foundational to all other interpersonal relationships
    B. Husband and wife - Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18,19; I Pet. 3:1-7
    C. Parent and child - Exod. 20:12; Eph. 6:1-4; Col. 3:20,21
    D. Employer and employee - Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 3:22-25; I Pet. 2:18
    E. Leadership and people
         1. Church - I Tim. 3:1-10; 5:17-20; Titus 1:5-9; Heb. 13:17; I Pet. 5:1-4
         2. Government - Rom. 13:1,5,7; I Pet. 2:13-17
         3. Social organizations

VII. Unique context of interpersonal relationships within the Church

    A. Based upon personal relationship with God in Christ - I Pet. 2:17
    B. Christ in one Christian wants to relate properly to Christ in another
    C. Social community of interpersonal relationships in Body of Christ.
    D. Expression of divine action between persons
         1. Character (fruit) - Gal. 5:22,23
         2. Function (gifts) - Rom. 12:3-8; I Cor. 12; Eph. 4:11,12; I Pet. 4:10,11

VIII. Examples of traits of character expression of God in interpersonal relationships of     Christians.

    A. love, compassion - Jn. 13:34,35; I Cor. 13; Gal. 5:13; Col. 3:12,14; Heb. 13:1-3
    B. honesty, integrity, trust, reliability, faithfulness - Gal. 5:22,23; Eph. 4:15,25
    C. justice, fairness - Matt. 23:23; James 2:1,7
    D. humility, meekness - Matt. 23:12; I Pet. 5:5,6;
    E. patience - Col. 3:12; I Thess. 5:14; endurance - I Pet. 2:20; 4:12-14
    F. non-retaliatory - I Thesss. 5:15; I Pet. 2:21-23; 3:9-12
    G. deference, submission - Eph. 5:21; Heb. 13:17; I Pet. 5:5
    H. transparent, open, listener
    I. encouragement - I Thess. 2:11,12; 4:18; 5:11,14; Heb. 3:13; 10:24,25
    J. acceptance, non-judgmentalism - Matt. 7:1-3; Rom. 5:15,16; 14:1,3; 15:7
    K. forgiveness, reconciliation - Matt. 5:23,24; Lk. 17:3-6; II Cor. 5:19; Eph. 4:32
    L. peacemaker - Matt. 5:9; I Thess.. 5:13
    M. confession, sharing, vulnerability - James 5:16
    N. help the weak - Rom. 14:1; I Thess. 5:14
    O. confrontation - Rom. 15:14; I Thess. 5:14
    P. supportive; flexibility; accept differences, eccentricities, weaknesses
    Q. agree to disagree - Rom. 14:5; I Cor. 10:31



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