Sunday 7 October 2012


Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom” (Song of Songs 2:15).

The little foxes are often seen as the subtle, little sins or pests that destroy much larger entities.

The fox is a classic symbol of slyness. It is evasive and difficult to catch. Just a few foxes can spoil an entire orchard. The farmer must be vigilant and not allow the foxes to ruin the harvest when the grapes bloom in spring.

Maintaining healthy relationships is difficult because human beings are, by nature, sensitive and vulnerable. A sin of omission or commission can blow up into something big. It may not even amount to sin. It may just be a mistake or weakness.

The relationship may involve couples or friends. The potential for tension can exist in a home, cell group, church, NGO or company.

Couples must have special time out set aside for romance periodically – to rekindle a relationship that often becomes mundane through the years.

When we fail to nurture a relationship, it may be misinterpreted that one is not important in the eyes of the beloved or friend.

Someone may take offence when the other party forgets his or her birthday or anniversary.

A conscientious office worker, passed over for promotion by someone less experienced and more junior, may feel hurt.  

Not inviting someone for weddings or celebrations – when it is only proper that he or she be invited – may leave that person feeling insignificant. “I’m a ‘nobody’ so that’s why they have forgotten me.”

People, in general, want to feel validated, recognised and affirmed.* And that has little to do with pride. It is just part of our psyche – that’s how we are wired. Of course, we must not flatter people in order to mollycoddle their ego.

Relationships between mature individuals work on the principle whereby deposits and withdrawals ** are made with respect to one’s emotional bank. If one party constantly makes withdrawals without making any deposits, the other party may feel aggrieved. “I know it’s coming again. His or her motive for calling me is always the same. He or she wants me to do something for him (or her). I feel he (or she) only likes to use me.”

In these days of mobile technologies and Facebook, connecting offline one-on-one with others has certainly taken a heavy beating. With work pressure, demands of ministry, home and hobbies, the task of building healthy relationships can only get more difficult.


The believer, however, must seek God’s approval rather than man’s approval.

** The believer must learn to bear with the weaknesses of the immature and give even when, humanly speaking, it’s difficult. Those with psychological and emotional disorders cannot be expected to give back.






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