Yesterday’s reflection explored the idea that the devil wishes to create the greatest chaos and harm in our lives, preventing us from fulfilling our true purpose in life.  He will, at any cost, distract us from the more important relationships and things, and try to make us focus on other minor concerns. 

In truth, interpersonal relationships can be compared to a savings account to which we deposit regularly over a long time.  

Broken relationships with our loved ones often bring us the greatest injury.  When the devil delivers his blows against us, his tactics are extremely effective.  Firstly, he distracts us from our priorities.  Then, he drives wedges in our relationships that result in broken marriages and families.  All these broken relationships, piercing our hearts and contributing to our emotional baggage, can have severe effects on how we live afterwards and our lives in general.  Regrettably, the problems that have broken up most  marriages and families are not without solutions!

We must acknowledge that no one can maintain perfect and harmonious relationships with everyone all the time; thus problems in interpersonal relationships are inevitable, especially with our family or loved ones. Therefore, let’s not lose heart and despair, or even completely give up, when problems or hurdles arise in our relationships with our family and loved ones.  Otherwise, we fall victim to the devil’s trickery.

Our family is a gift from God.  Therefore, whether in good times or bad, we need to recognize that our family is a special gift and blessing bestowed by God and to be treasured.  

When we give up on this relationship, we are giving up on one of the greatest blessings in our lives.  At the same time, we are also denying our loved ones of the same blessing from God through us.  Unfortunately, we often only realize this life’s lesson when it’s too late.  Knowing this, we must strive to avoid repeating this tragedy in our lives.

We may ask, if human relationships are so beautiful and are gifts from God, why do they cause so much trouble for us and even bring us anguish?  In truth, we all know and recognize that humanity is God’s great and mysterious creation.  All mysterious and beautiful things are, to a certain degree, “complicated”.  For instance, our five senses, thoughts, emotions, and so on, are all mysterious and complicated.  Yet, our lives are made richer and fuller because of this.  What makes life wonderful is the emotional exchange and interactions among all of us!  We cannot welcome only the “good” in life and reject the “ugly”.  We need to believe that our God who is good and kind will never intentionally instill in our lives the “imperfect”.  All “imperfection” or “ugliness” result from our own free will. 

In fact, God has already provided us with all the ingredients that can make our lives wonderful.  Our ability to truly make our lives wonderful depends on our mentality and attitude.  An appropriate mindset and a positive attitude embolden us to respond and act positively. 

Unfortunately, the devil, who takes joy in opposing God, continues to distort God’s good intentions for us, and vows to lead us astray from God’s salvation at all costs!  

Therefore, we must recognize the true visage of the devil, and not be terrified and confused by the images depicted in movies.  As well, we must be alert that Satan, a fallen angel, can pretend to be someone or something good in our lives.  We may fall victim to his treachery unknowingly.  Let us take heart and stay awake!

In the Gospel of Matthew chapter sixteen, Peter innocently begs Jesus to avoid suffering and death.  Jesus’ response to Peter is rather unexpected,

“Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

(Matthew 16:23)

Jesus reacts this way because He has detected the devil’s handiwork: Peter, unknowingly being manipulated by the devil, attempts to stop Jesus from fulfilling the Father’s will.  

This passage demonstrates that the devil is an opportunist who will even manipulate our good intentions to fulfil his treachery.  We must stay awake and be alert, and observe each move of the devil, so that we may not be deceived by his sweet-talks. 

The devil is so cunning that he is careful not to reveal his true face, rather, he relishes hiding behind the seemingly “good things” in life, thus entrapping us.  On the contrary, God patiently attends to and accompanies us as we confront life’s adversities.  He has the power to bestow blessings on us even during our most difficult struggles and adversities, which in turn,  inspires goodness.   



How has God blessed you in your God-gifted relationships?

Do you often neglect to give priority to some of your significant relationships due to your busy “work” schedule?

What are some of the significant relationships in your life to which God has invited you to pay more attention?

Today’s Prayer

Merciful and gracious Abba Father, I recognized that I have had many misunderstandings and false expectations of my relationships with others in the past. Often, I became self-centred and took everything for granted; indeed, I have forgotten that all these relationships are gifts from You. My unwillingness to give and stinginess with my time often create conflicts in my interactions with and cause unnecessary harm to others. Forgive me; inflame my heart so that I may be able to identify the significant relationships in my life to which You have invited me to pay more attention. Just as You have willingly sacrificed Your only Son for us, teach me the spirit of sacrifice so that I may give myself up for others. For this I pray, through our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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Sincerely invite you to share the reflections that inspires you by this day's retreat.