Taken from Game Plan for Life Bible; Reading: Mark 12:30-31

When Jesus was asked what the most important commands were, he answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart,” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31). Maintaining good relationships, according to Christ, is as important to our health as is keeping our love for God strong.

Most of us are familiar with the Golden Rule, as it is often called, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). This is a good place to start to establish the kind of guidelines and principles to live by as we interact with others, including family members, work associates, church members and anyone else. Loving relationships can also go a long way to healthier physical lives: “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up” (Proverbs 12:25). “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:13). “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). We are wise to pay attention to both our relational lives and our physical lives.

Forgiveness, too, is a key component of keeping your relationships healthy. People will hurt you, sometimes without meaning to — even the people who love you most. And if you expect to maintain good fellowship with them, you will often be called upon to overlook and forgive their offenses. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

Sometimes, of course, you will be the one doing the offending. When that happens, when you “remember that your brother or sister has something against you,” the Bible instructs you to “go and be reconciled” (Matthew 5:23-24), and ask for forgiveness.

So keep the lines of communication open, keep your accounts short, and don’t look “to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:4). That’s how relationships thrive, survive, and stay intact.