Brian Johnston

(Jan.20,1943 / Shattuck, OK)

A Promise of Covenant Relationship


1. Covenant of Affirmation
(Unconditional love, agape love) Rom.12: 10, I Thess 5: 11
There is nothing you have done or will do that will make me stop loving you. I may not agree with your actions, but I will love you as a person and do all I can to hold you up in God's affirming love.

2. Covenant of Availability
Phil 2: 2-4, Acts 2: 44-45
Anything I have - time, energy, insight, possessions - is at your disposal as God reveals your need to me, even to the limit of my resources. I offer this to you both in recognition of the importance of convenant relations over other non-covenant demands in my life and to honor Christ's esteem for the value of serving others. As part of this availability I pledge my time on a regular basis, whether by letter, by phone, in prayer, or in an agreed upon meeting time.

3. Covenant of Prayer
James 5: 16
I covenant to pray for you in some regular fashion. I do this because I believe that our caring Father wishes his children to pray for one another. I will ask Him not only for the blessings you need but for wisdom and clarity as to what part I am to play in His answer.

4. Covenant of Openness
Gal.6: 2
I promise to strive to be a more open person, disclosing my joy and my pain to you as well as I am able. The degree to which I do so implies that I trust you with my problems and my dreams, that you contribute to my well being just by listening, even when you say nothing. By this I affirm your worth to me as a person.

5. Covenant of Listening With Love
I will try more often to mirror back to you what I hear you say and feel. I will do this not only to give you confidence that I have understood you but to also test and grow my own listening skills. I will endeavor to view every communication from you as a precious gift of your spirit instead of a potential threat to mine.

6. Covenant of Honesty
Col 3: 9
I will look for ways to praise you when I see you are deserving of praise, I will gently question you if I suspect or believe you are taking the wrong path, and I covenant to pursue your best interests, not mine, in this endeavor. If this means risking pain for either of us, I will trust our relationship enough to take that risk, believing that it is in 'speaking the truth in love that we grow up in every way into Christ who is the head.' (Ephesians 4: 15) I will try to express this honesty in a sensitive and controlled manner and to meter it, according to what I perceive the circumstances to be.

7. Covenant of Sensitivity
Even as I desire to be known, understood, and accepted by you, I covenant to be sensitive to you and to your needs to the best of my ability. I will try to hear you, see you, and feel where you are.

8. Covenant of Confidentiality
I promise to do all that I can to keep thoughts or feelings you share confidentially with me private in order to provide the atmosphere of permission and safety necessary for openness. Should I feel the need to discuss a confidence from you with another for my own growth or edification, I covenant to never do so without your permission.

9. Covenant of Forgiveness
Matthew 18: 21-35
I covenant to forgive you as often as necessary whenever you earnestly desire this, and, with God's help, to wipe the slate clean between us as if no wrong was ever done.

10. Covenant of Accountability
I consider that the gifts that God has given me for the common good should be liberated for your benefit. If I should discover areas of my life that are under bondage, hung up, or truncated by my own misdoings or by the scars inflicted by others, I will seek Christ's liberating power through his Holy Spirit, through covenant relationships with others, and through other sources of God's revelation, so that I might give more of myself to you. I am accountable to you to become what God has gifted me to be in His loving creation.



Presented To _________________
On _________________
By _________________

Submitted: Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Brian Johnston
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Thirty years ago or so, I modified a published agreement for a Covenant Agreement between members of an ongoing bible study group. My intention was to communicate to my friends (to whom I gave a copy) that it was my intention to honor this agreement with them, but that I considered it binding on me only. The purpose of this document is quite different from the originally published one and the changes are all ones I have introduced. I claim no personal rights to this document or to any of the ideas expressed here in and invite every reader both to comment freely on ways to improve it or simply adapt it to their own purposes as they see fit.

Comments about this poem (A Promise of Covenant Relationship by Brian Johnston )

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  • Brian Johnston (12/27/2013 11:56:00 PM)

    Hi again Mike! The value of this promise to me is not so much that there are scriptural teachings behind many of its suggestions, but the fact that it expands and helps me remember (think clearly about) what it really means to love another. The Golden Rule while truly golden can still be perverted. What if the person you are asking to love others as he loves himself is one who loves to inflict pain on himself. What if the person who wants to serve God believes that God's desire is for non-believers to be exterminated so that believers are not tempted to sin. We all like simplicity but what if that simplicity serves the laziness of our own souls and not the infinite complexity of God's creation and His plan for it? As nice as simplicity can be, surely we need to be careful we do not make simplicity our God. I am also suspicious of the idea that the search for truth is strictly a personal one. The church is God's creation and I suspect this is because we need others to avoid conflicts of interest, prejudice, and our own lack of imagination as much as I dislike organized religion at times. (Report) Reply

  • Mike Barrett (12/26/2013 10:29:00 AM)

    Brian, I've rated this document an 8....but it may deserve more. I believe that the search for God and truth, and that of Self and God, is a personal one, and God grants us the answers within Soul. I'm not one tied into the chapter and verse perspective on life no matter what the external scriptural base.

    Some philosophers when asked the purpose of life write tomes. Christ when asked the same question basically replied, Love God, and Love thy neighbor as thyself (for the love of me) . I like the simple approach. In loving the neighbor as the self, one gives the other the freedom to experience their own unfoldment unhindered. A lot of religions have forgotten this obligation and a lot of Souls are thereby ensnared so that the priestcraft and religious institutions can enjoy and promulgate their unique social status. (Report) Reply

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