Week 4 Day 7: Grow into Greater Life

Week 4: My Relationship with Others
Workbook Exercise: My Web of Connections

Watch: Week 4 Day 7: Grow into Greater Life
How will you love the people in your life?
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Transcript of Video:

So in this phase we have been thinking about our relationships with others and as we grow a Rule of Life how that Rule of Life might help inform and direct our relationships with others. So at the close of this phase here, we want to step back a little bit and look at the web of relationships that make up our lives, to see where relationships are strong and where they might be weak or even damaged or broken. To see what we might do to build relationships, to foster intimacy and to grow together, and what we might do to overcome obstacles in relationships or breakdowns in relationships. Forgiveness is always a central part of the Christian message and the message of reconciliation is the message that we have for the world. So forgiveness and reconciliation will play a big part in this.

So as we reflect on our relationships, as we look at the relationships in our lives and the relationships we want to foster and grow, the end of this phase gives us a chance to review those and to see how we might grow into greater life with those whom we love and those whom we find difficult to love.

– Br. David Vryhof


  1. Lisa Bartoli DeAngelis on March 31, 2019 at 10:29

    As I get older the special relationships in my life become so important to me. To strengthen them…build on them…rekindle. With my parents now both in heaven…it helps so much to stay close to my siblings. The love my parents have us lives on in our relationships. With all love…my siblings, my husband i think acceptance is so important. Honesty and forgiveness is needed to love fully as God intended.

    • Chioma Nwaogu on January 31, 2021 at 13:42

      I will love the people in my life with genuine charity and be open to journeying with on a path of sincerity and truth. We are called to go the extra mile, like Jesus and be neighbors to each other.

  2. David W. on December 5, 2017 at 08:22

    I have come a the point in my spiritual journey a at which I feel God’s urging to attempt reconciliation with my estranged siblings. Our relationship has never been close because we were separated by life circumstances at an early age. While my mother’s siblings were still alive, we managed through extended family gatherings to see each once yearly, on average. In the time since those elderly family members have passed, it has been years since I have seen or been in contact with my siblings. I now realize that it is up to me to contact them.

  3. Stan Lewis on March 7, 2017 at 09:25

    My struggle is to love the unlovable–those who I feel mistreat me, attack my character, or for whatever reason just don’t seem to like or love me. I have to try to differentiate behavior from the person. The person is God’s child. The behavior is a choice made by the child. I can love the person and not like the behavior. It means putting my ego aside and exercising spiritual maturity.

  4. Linda on June 8, 2016 at 09:43

    I don’t have trouble growing relationships with those already close to me. But I have a few people I am related to that have strong opposing views. Some hate Christianity and are into strange religions that work against you and their religion makes them unstable. this is painful because I have to distance myself emotionally and I can’t do much for them as their path is too destructive. Then some who say they are Christian are very judgemental and cold so I don’t enjoy what come out of them either. It is like what Debbie said above. They chip away at you, your spirit, emotions, and resources. I wish more people understood the path to peace. So I still show kindness, but it is depressing to see them in their condition. Please pray for them, God knows their names.

  5. Debbie on March 10, 2016 at 07:52

    The key sentence is how do you want to foster relationships that you want to grow. That is easy when you have people in your life you care about and you want to care about. What about those whom you do not care for. That go out of their way to make you life hard and difficult. That find ways every day to put themselves against you. I can not absorb my self in their norrousis. It will chip away at the relationships that are important. At the people who will care.

  6. Susan Zimmerman on March 6, 2016 at 15:50

    …for the most part…’choosing’ to love…the people in my life…

  7. a city monk on March 6, 2016 at 12:48

    We are reminded that even the pagans can love those who love them. And Jesus’ call to love our enemies is really a bigger problem than I can admit to.

    Before you can begin to learn to love your enemies… you have to have… enemies! People who really truly and sincerely find nothing of merit even in sharing the breath of life with me.

    This, came as a shock. It came as a further shock that it wasn’t about “fixing” them, it was my lesson to find how to love as the Lord loves me. So, it is an ongoing conversion of my heart… and I may have to rip the horn outta my car until I can not use it to scream at people….

    welcome to the school of mercy and compassion…
    have a seat, this is gonna take the rest of your life…

  8. Julia on March 6, 2016 at 09:34

    In the two ways already mentioned, seeing God’s face in every face and recalling that each of us is beloved by God. Also, to remember that i need both to elicit intimacy and offer it – that is, probe for what a person needs to share and honor them and myself by sharing back. The latter is more difficult for me.

  9. Eugene Wright on March 5, 2016 at 22:56

    The people in my life are as different and varied and they all get loved according to their special and unique way. Despite the fact that some people aggravate me to no end, I still love them and pray for them always. Others I show my love for by being there for them and doing things for them. Yet still there are others that I just love at a distance by staying out of their way and not harbor any hard feelings for them. In all though, I try to love everyone in my life as much as is humanly possible.

  10. Kathi on March 5, 2016 at 22:07

    I notice that the discussions frequently talk about judgment – especially referring to Mat 7:1-3. I’ve often had a hard time with this passage because I don’t think it is saying to not judge – I thought it was saying to only judge in the manner you would want yourself to be judged. I’ve always thought it was impossible not to judge – so if we do we must temper it and apply the same standards to ourselves. And there’s the rub – defining those standards is difficult. It is easy to say how I would behave in a situation that I have never been in. In reality, I must be honest with myself and know that I would not necessarily behave in the most exemplary Christian manner at all times. In order to love the people in my life, I must understand and empathize with them first. When I do, it is much easier to forgive them (or myself if I’ve been out-of-line.) If I cannot forgive, then I must question what my motives are – are the shortcomings on my part? If not, why am I holding this person to my standards? Are there faults with my standards?

  11. Stan on March 5, 2016 at 20:58

    How do I (and will I) love the people in my life? Other than the basic “givens” such as forgiveness, acceptance, listening, compassion, understanding, supporting and nurturing, I feel that actually sharing our lives with our friends and loved ones is paramount. Spend quality time with them. Have close friends over to break bread and wine together. Share time hiking together, riding motorcycles together, or just listening to music. Get close and personal. Share everything. Get to know them intimately. Finding God’s love for you within others is holy.

    And in particular, open your mind and soul to those who you find difficult to love. Some folks can be pretty challenging, but most of us are human. If you approach them with your heart and mind truly open and the intent to discover God in them and understand what makes them tick and where their motivations come from, you may be surprised at how easily you can learn to love them. And for some, particularly the meek and lowly, their love can change your life.

  12. Winifred on March 5, 2016 at 19:22

    I like the saying that true, mindful attention is the greatest generosity.

  13. Suzanne on March 5, 2016 at 14:24

    When I feel balanced I can more easily love others in my life. When I get tired and am overworked I need personal space to re-center and re-fuel. Some people in my life are very easy to love. Then there are the others! Forgiveness is vital and short visits help, too. I’ve come to learn that listening is a gift.

  14. Russell on March 5, 2016 at 12:28

    I feel it’s clear that compassion, forgiveness and patience are the best gifts I can give others, and the proper way to love them. To do that, I will have to clear my mind of judgments, expectations and selfishness. These are my most difficult and persistent characteristics. The work of keeping them away from my relationships is strenuous every day.

  15. L.S. on March 5, 2016 at 11:33

    God drew me, a person who has avoided conflict at all costs, into a ministry where I am among people who tend to solve problems through high conflict. As an “elder”, I am not seen as a threat, which gives me power to listen. God also gave me a gentle voice, which allows me to bring the level down, to be the quiet voice. (And usually God gives me the words.) Two of my children died as youngsters, which also gave me the knowledge that we can love everyone as our own children, regardless of a biological connection. My struggle is with the heartbreak that comes as a result of loving people who have been treated as “throwaways.”

    • Mary Lucia on March 9, 2016 at 17:31

      What a beautiful ministry, LS! My life is enriched just knowing that you are out there.

  16. Rhode on March 5, 2016 at 11:20

    The people i love are easy to pray for each day. Then I pray for the ones who i am acquanted with who i like. Then God reminds me to pray for the few real pains in the butt who have plagued me or my family with their thoughtlessnes and sometimes downright mean spiritedness. Those prays always end with me asking for forgiveness for the lack of love etc in my own heart towards them. I ask for the HS to change my heart and how I react to hurt and the opportunity to change the dynamics of the relationship if possible. (knowing with God all thing are possible)

  17. Joyce McGirr on March 5, 2016 at 10:58

    Praying, Listening, Sharing, Forgiving

    • a city monk on March 6, 2016 at 12:37

      it is a simple economy and yet it shakes my heart in the living…

  18. Bobbi on March 5, 2016 at 09:58

    Three ways to love people enter my heart: Listen to them; Do not judge them. Pray for them.

    • a city monk on March 6, 2016 at 12:33

      mmm, yes!

  19. William Spies on March 5, 2016 at 09:57

    Asking for forgiveness is something that needs to be done. I have that need but the person I need to as that of is no longer here. so what I realized from that is not to put myself in the position ever again. thst too is very difficult to achieve. so I each day ask God to help me hold back my temper and to make me think of the consequences of those rash actions.

  20. Kristi on March 5, 2016 at 09:30

    I think all relationships have weaknesses that need work. I know that with my few very close friends there are things I struggle with. It’s hard to see people you love make unhealthy choices, so I’m constantly battling a feeling of frustration when they voice their struggles to me but continue to do things that don’t improve their situation. I have no right to judge anyone, since I’ve been through many similar things in my life. Fortunately I learned how to be healthy and care for myself better than I ever did before.
    I can always give love to those around me, there’s never a shortage of that. And I can pray for those dear friends that God may show them a healthier path & they’ll choose to take it.

  21. Bettie on March 5, 2016 at 08:36

    Its my birthday. People send notes saying how much I mean to them. Its a joyful surprise. For the first 30 years of my life I felt unliked. Now, at 82, I love being liked. Thanks to God that I keep growing. How do I love people in my life?: I listen; I’m helpful where I can be; I’m enthusiastic; I gratefully accept offers of help for my physical self; I keep a sense of humor. But non-judgemental listening and enthusiasm for their lives are probably the most important.

    • Suzanne on March 5, 2016 at 14:18

      Happy Birthday Bettie!

      • a city monk on March 6, 2016 at 12:32

        Through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, God teaches us that all birthdays are holy! and a sign of God’s love for us. So, every happy birthday greeting is heard as an I love you from God, in the silence of your heart…
        Happy Birthday!

  22. Jim V on March 5, 2016 at 08:36

    I am always struck how the fruits of the spirit are defined mostly by how you treat others. Joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. I need to give thanks and revel in the good of people, not argue, have way more patience, be kind, help them, have faith that they are doing their best and God is working through them and loves them and have a far more gentle approach.

  23. Betty Donahue on March 5, 2016 at 08:22

    I love those I find easy to love by helping them, listening to them, giving to them and being there for them.. like Jack, Aaron, my dad… as for those I find difficult to love i love them best by recognizing they are children of God and then letting them go. By letting them go that means wishing the best for them but not interacting with them in any way. I also can love them best by not deriding them, just accept that they are who they are and i cannot change that only they can change if they want or need to. It is not my plan but Gods.

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