Interpersonal relationships are the most valuable asset to be found on this planet. Regarding the precepts of God’s law, the psalmist wrote, “More desired are they than gold.” (Psalms 19:10) Love characterizes God’s law as it promotes loving relationships with others and with God. The joy produced by interpersonal relationships is evident when one visits an undeveloped country and sees happiness in loving families living in deep poverty. One can also see misery found among the world’s rich. While wealth does create comfort that makes life less of a burden, it fails to bring the happiness that people long for.
Ellen White wrote, “You have a duty to fulfill: that of being joyful and cultivating self-denial in your feelings until it is your greatest pleasure to make those around you happy.” (Test. v4) Families are groups of people that share resources. Thus there are biological families and church families. These families provide us the greatest opportunities to develop interpersonal relationships and find joy in making others happy. Satan knows the power and ability a family has to make individuals happy so it is his intention to create disharmony in the family. The element in society that should have the greatest capacity for creating happiness, the devil uses to cause pain.
There are two tools to stop the devil from harming our interpersonal relationships. The first is forgiveness. When someone offends us, we should be quick to forgive. The second is to question self-denial of feelings of offense. Satan often causes family members to be offend so that he can use that offense as a means to harm the interpersonal relationship. It is often better to do as the Apostle Paul suggested in “suffering a wrong” (1 Corinthians 6:7) than damage a relationship. Offense is a tool Satan uses and we can spare ourselves much pain by “cultivating self-denial” in our feelings of offense. Learning to recognize the feeling of offense as a tool of Satan will help use protect the interpersonal relationships that are worth more than gold.