Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Were you able to get your tongue around that title? I know, I know. I’m stretching the bounds of poetic license, but I’ve a reason for it. I’ve been blogging the last few days with regard to some personal soul searching. I started with THINKING, moved into my ATTITUDE and most recently, my TALKING. The next logical step is how these three begin to affect my RELATIONSHIPS. I’ve heard it said that the word FELLOWSHIP can be described as “Two fellows in a ship”, so I’m borrowing THEIR SHIP for a few minutes to LAUNCH my THOUGHTS. Sorry, I’m doing it again!

And speaking of SHIPS, I served on board a ship in the Navy back in the 60s. I was a clerk in the office of the Executive Officer in charge of what was called the SHIP’s COMPANY of men. It was a hospital ship so there was actually two separate “commands” or staffs, in landlubber terms. One was hospital and the other, ship’s company in charge of maintaining the ship itself. It was an unusual ship because, although it had seen ocean service, it was, for my time, a permanently docked base hospital. Its engine was even disconnected and it had to be “towed” to dry-dock to clean the hull. This was OK by me, for the one time I had gone on a brief one-day cruise on a friend’s ship, I was sea-sick the whole voyage. All this to lead-into my point for this blog.

I’m afraid that in the matter of RELATIONSHIPS many have the same reaction and exit the scene before the voyage ever gets started. As long as it is just maintenance work in keeping “the decks” relatively clean and the “crew” clothed and fed, leave the ups-and-downs of “sailing” to others, is often the response. It reminds me of the typical response of Raymond on “Everybody Loves Raymond” when his wife wants to talk about their relationship more deeply. He throws up his hands, cries “Oh, no!” and exits, stage left, and I mean left. That’s where the kitchen is, and the “frig”. Is there a play on words there? I mean, COOL and RELATIONSHIP? That aside, you get the point? Raymond has one train of THOUGHT and it has produced an ATTITUDE that results in TALK and WALK that keeps his SHIP of RELATIONS in dry-dock!

A ship is built to SAIL, not be tied to the dock! Yes, it performed a service of good deeds, but it was still a SHIP designed for SAILING!

As I have pondered this in relation to my own life, I realize that there are times that my own predisposition has been to avoid the ROUGH WATERS of life with the “crew” that God has seen fit to be with me in the boat from time to time. Sometimes our SHIP sails into pretty cold waters. There are difficulties that many have in forming new relationships, BREAKING the ICE, so to speak. There are others that SAIL into very heated relational climates that seem to have no refreshing winds to cool the tempers that flare up, and the voyage is stalled for lack of such winds, too. And to carry the analogy one compass point further, there are times that the crew responsible for sailing the ship in the right direction, for whatever reason, chooses a route that takes them dangerously close to SHIPWRECK on the rocks of wrong relations. The result I leave to your imagination.

Stepping aside from the analogy I’ve used, I’ve begun to examine my own life in connection to others. As I have done before, I refer to thoughts shared in Frizzell’s book, “Return to Holiness” that I’ve mentioned before in these blogs. When he refers to the category of relationships as a point where sin’s cleansing is needed, he cites problems such as hurts or offenses that may have been done to others. These, he says, can create rifts between Christians that result in quenching the Spirit for the whole church. The words of Jesus in Matthew 5:23-24 are good counsel, “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and then remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Unforgiveness is also an area where needed cleansing exists. How many time have we heard even Christians say, ‘I just can’t forget so I can’t forgive.” Jesus’ words again challenge, from Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Makes you think, doesn’t it? And as to forgetting, our heavenly Father’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ puts the sin away from His mind as far as the east is from the west. Our act of will in forgetting is to follow His example and put it as far away from our THOUGHTS as we can, through putting our THOUGHTS consistently on His love for us and our love for others.

Improper relationships, too, warrant some attention here. If we allow our minds to become involved in THOUGHTS that are unhealthy or destructive to our relational commitments, be it our immediate family, or church family, it can alter our ATTITUDES and our TALK and WALK with those people, and ultimately with God, Himself! The scriptures teach us that relationships are to be worked at consistently. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it.” (Eph. 5:25) Wives and husbands both are to work daily on a love relationship that grows deeper with the passing days and years. Children, who are commanded to honor their parents, also need the stability of such good role models that are worthy of honor paid.

And, as to the church family, the same kind of counsel applies, and even more so, as we see time and the relationships of this world growing more difficult. Hebrews 10:25 gives good advice to those who’s relation to a local church is less than proper. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.” The relationship of believers to believers is truly a strengthening blessing to all, and keeps each one on the RIGHT COURSE AND HEADING in life.

And speaking of RIGHT COURSE AND HEADING, my own SHIP of RELATIONS is one that I am committed to STEER with God’s COMPASS, His Word, toward the HEADING He’s given us, and it’s His WIND of the Spirit that fills our SAILS. As SHIP’s COMPANY, we’re doing our best to keep the decks maintained and clean, the crew fed, and the LOOK – OUTS in the CROWS NEST – waiting and watching to lift their CRY – LAND HO!



Ray Edwards said...

Great blog. I am thinking that the state of the ship (ship of state) of relations cane be badly damaged and even become inoperable if relations are not what they should be. This can happen betwen friends, family, husbands and wives, and church. We need to care for the Old Ship of state by maintaining the relation ship.


Amber said...

Thinking about what you said here and just trying to soak it all in. Relationships are tricky things sometimes.

Love you much.

Jo said...

I've had my share of shipwrecked relationships in my life. After a length of time and distance, the pain has subsided to being almost forgotten. I say almost because it was a part of my life and the memory is still in the depths of my mind.
I do believe, though, that I have forgiven...the other parties involved, as well as myself for the parts that I played in the "shipwreck." Looking back, after much soul-searching, I have realized that I was responsible for at least some of the pain, because of my inability to cope with certain situations at the time, and didn't handle things as well as I could have.

Good post, brother.

p.s. Unless I missed it, I don't think you mentioned that the pic you used in the post is of the same ship you served on in the Navy...the U.S.S.Haven.