Man was created to be a being in relation. In the book of Genesis, following the creation of Adam, God declared: “it is not good for man to be alone. I will make a suitable help for him.” Genesis 2:18. This shows that God intended for man to find a mate, raise a family and live out His plan for him.
But the referenced words do not just point to man’s need of a marriage partner; they also indicate that man is social being and is at his best and fullest when in a relationship rather than trying to find meaning in life as a lone ranger or a hermit, away from the society of fellow human beings.
John Donne penned the following words which have become a classic:
“No man is an island,
No man stands alone,
Each man’s joy is joy to me;
Each man’s grief, is my own.
We need one another,
So I will defend,
Each man as my brother;
Each mas as a friend.”
We can thrive only in relationships. We need each other. Emperor Frederick, who ruled the Roman Empire in the thirteenth century, carried out a rather cruel and cruel experiment. He wanted to know what man’s original language was: Hebrew, Greek, or Latin. He decided to isolate a few infants from the sound of the human voice. He reasoned that they would eventually speak the nature tongue of man. Wet nurses who were sworn to absolute silence were obtained, and though it was difficult for them, they abided by the rule. The infants never heard a word — not a sound from a human voice. Within several months they were all dead.
Research also shows that single men are jailed more often, earn less, have more illnesses and die at a younger age than married men. It has also been shown that married men with cancer live 20% longer than single men with the same cancer. Further, women, who often have more close friendships than men, survive longer with the same cancers. Married or not, relationships keep us alive.
We note then that social relationships are not just there for our comfort or convenience. They are for our very survival and for better health and greater success in the business of living. In fact the Carnegie Technological Institute has stated that 90% of all people who fail in their life’s vocation fail because they cannot get along with people. So it is good to know how to related with them so that we can have more success and greater happiness.
And to assist us in polishing our human relations skills, here are a few reminders which have been adapted from the Bible Tract Bulletin:
TEN COMMANDMENTS OF HUMAN RELATIONS
- Speak to people. There is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting.
- Smile at people. It takes seventy-two muscles to frown, only fourtenn to smile.
- Call people by name. One’s name is music to his ears.
- Be friendly and helpful.
- Be cordial. Speak and act as if everything you do is genuinely a pleasure, and if it isn’t, learn to make it so.
- Be genuinely interested in people. You can like almost everybody if you try.
- Be generous with praise, cautious with criticism.
- Be considerate with the feelings of others. There are usually three sides to a controversy: yours, the other fellow’s, and the right one.
- Be alert to serve. What counts most in life is what we do for others.
- Add to this is a good sense of humor, a big dose of patience, and a dash of humility, and you will be rewarded manifold through life.
May we find greater meaning and joy in life as we live our lives according to God’s plan.