By Amanda Flinn
We all know the importance of being unified in our relationship with Christ, and also the importance of unity in marriage. But what about unity in relationships with other women?
Unity in Relationships with Other Women
Have you considered how the women around you either work to build you up or attempt to knock you down?
Over your lifetime, have you experienced both the life-giving joy of good friendships, and the draining, often toxic, behaviors of relationships gone wrong?
When women are unified in the body of Christ, amazing things can happen.
But when women are out for their own personal gain, they can be quick to criticize and judge others. They can be brutally harsh in their slander, and even Christian women, can misuse the ‘prayer request’ for their own chance to gossip.
Disunity Among Women
Let’s consider the girl clique from the 2004 movie, Mean Girls.
In this group of teens, Regina George, was the ringleader. Being unified meant that everyone had to look a certain way and do as she said. The famous quote, “On Wednesdays we wear pink” came from this movie. It was how the clique worked. Some people were in it, and others were out.
But eventually, even the people with the “in-crowd” realized that these friendships weren’t working. They came to understand that being unified had nothing to do with wearing the same color or liking the same foods.
Instead, being unified in our relationships with women is about encouragement, inclusion, and respect. When these things are offered generously, our circles get broader and our love grows deeper.
3 Ways to Promote Unity in Relationships with Other Women
These are the three ways you can promote unity in relationships with other women.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)
As women, we get the opportunity to be cheerleaders for each other, to use our voices to build up rather than tear down. Speaking from experience, there is nothing better than getting a genuine, often timely, word of encouragement from another female.
See a struggling momma doing a stellar job parenting an unruly child at the grocery store? Tell her. She will love you and you will have made her day better.
Appreciate the work ethic of your co-worker? Drop her a note and say thank you!
Does someone repeatedly reach out to you because they need a listening ear and sound advice? Be their person. You may be the only one standing in their corner.
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:7 (ESV)
Did you know that it’s easy to judge people from a distance, but much harder to dislike someone once you’ve gotten to know them? Oftentimes the story we make up about someone in our heads is much different than the truth. Seeing someone as Christ sees them can change everything.
By developing an “everyone is welcome policy,” you may start to notice your friend circle expanding. Women succeed when we support each other and there is room at the table for everyone. If you need help in this area, start by looking outside of your race, religion and age demographic.
Be intentional about inviting someone to coffee who might need some girl time. Greet the new neighbor. Smile at the sales clerk. Be open to making new friends, knowing that not everyone has to be your best friend. You might be pleasantly surprised by the increased richness of your friendships.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3 (ESV)
Respect is the act of having thoughtfulness and consideration for others. This can be simple acts of kindness, mutual appreciation or even the ability to refrain from spreading gossip, knowing that your words could cause another person harm.
Fannie Lou Hamer, an American voting and civil rights activist, said “You don’t have to like everyone one, but you do need to love them.”
According to scripture, love is an action. It is patient, kind, without envy or boasting. Love is not proud or self-seeking and it does not dishonor others. It keeps no record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-5)
In essence, love and respect go hand in hand. When we love and respect God, we are more likely to love and respect ourselves. In turn, we are able to offer that same love and respect to the women around us. It’s a win-win-win for everyone.
By offering encouragement, being inclusive and showing respect to other women, we are unified in the body of Christ. Which is great, considering that Jesus came to set us free — from sin, yes — but also from the confines of silly rules in social circles.
Genuine friendship doesn’t need to be constrained to wearing pink on Wednesdays. In fact, you can wear whatever color you want. You’ll feel freer to do this as you work toward unity in relationships with other women.
Wife Step: Reach out to another woman this week and offer encouragement, or ask her to join you for coffee.
Amanda Flinn is an award-winning author, blogger and booknerd. As a freelance writer, and the director of Kingdom Edge Magazine, Amanda is passionate about using words to positively impact others. A wife of 16 years, she admits that marriage is the most challenging relationship she has ever had, yet the one that keeps her closest to God. Boymom, dogmom, and friend to anyone who needs one–Amanda wants you to remember that no matter what you’re going through, you’re never alone. To learn more about her debut board book, Yoga Baby, and upcoming writing projects, visit www.amandaflinn.com.