International (MNN) — If you’ve spent much time on this earth, then you understand that relationships are a double-edged sword. They build up. They tear down. While we understand that healthy relationships are important, perhaps we underestimate the impact of unhealthy relationships in our lives.
David Meengs is a longtime biblical counselor, author, and friend of Set Free Ministries. He’s taught biblical counseling around the globe — first in India and now in the Philippines. What he’s learned is that many of the common struggles we face today, even depression and addiction, usually have something to do with the relationships in our lives.
Meengs says, “Almost always there is a problem with anger, bitterness, or a lack of forgiveness and unless and until those who are having addictions of various kinds can fix their relationship with God and with others, they’re probably not going to come out of their addictions.”
The Gospel brings a renewed right relationship with God. And because that relationship transforms our lives, it allows us to seek better relationships with those around us.
“When the grace of God goes into our hearts — not our heads, but it goes into our hearts — it’s going to come out. Grace in, grace out. That’s excelling in relationships. In other words, someone’s not going to be gracious to others unless they have received the grace of God,” Meengs explains.
This concept and an overwhelming drug addiction epidemic in the Philippines led him to write the book called “Excelling in Relationships”. It has become a training resource for ministry workers, policemen, and even government workers. So far, about 15,000 copies of the book have been given away, mostly into jails and prisons where a lot of the counseling has taken place.
In his book, Meengs explains the importance of right relationships using three letters: J-O-Y. They stand for Jesus, others, and you. He explains that so many of our problems that steal joy in our lives are due to the fact that we have these three letters out of order—when we put others or ourselves before God, or ourselves before others.
In many cases, people addicted to drugs will blame others for the pain that drove them to drugs. They’ve staked the trajectory of their lives on what that person did. In a way, they are putting whoever has wronged them ahead of God. But when they stake their life in Christ and the freedom and mercy he’s bought them, they can move on from that pain.
It’s the same with bitterness, anger, worry, and jealousy. But Meengs says this concept isn’t always readily taught in counseling, Bible studies, or even at churches.
“What’s missing is relationships. That’s where they hurt, that’s where they’re falling apart. And very little is actually studied on that topic.”
While this book was born out of a desire to help prisoners and those struggling with drugs, it really is a helpful resource for anyone who wants to establish healthy relationships in their lives and conquer some of their own trials. And that’s why Set Free Ministries is giving away free copies of “Excelling in Relationships” for the month of August.
The book contains 32 lessons that guide the reader into cultivating a healthy relationship with God and others.
To get your copy, head to our click here.