20 Relational Lessons.
One of the greatest mistakes I’ve made in life involves misunderstanding love. I loved lavishly without wisdom. Gave some people VIP access who should have had outside the window viewing privileges only. Listened more to what people said than watched their behavior. In an effort not to be a relational snob, to be inclusive, I would befriend almost anyone. Not due to loneliness, because I like spending time by myself. I simply thought I was loving.
Here are some hard lessons I learned:
- Love and access are two different things. Love everyone (seek to do no harm). Give people who have earned trust access. Love is a gift. Trust is earned. Some people will treat your heart like it has no value, mishandle you. It’s your job to test who should have access. Guard your heart. Build a fence, not a wall. Everyone can see it’s beauty, not everyone has access.
- Some people believe they are great and that they have pure motives, and they do not. Ask God. I ask God to reveal who I am and the hearts of others. Not to judge, to assess levels of access. We do background checks and ask for references regarding jobs or child care workers. Why don’t we investigate people who want to be close to us?
- People who do not love themselves, or struggle with hating themselves cannot love you! A naked man can not give you a shirt. We give away the love we possess. An insecure person will struggle with your confidence or success. They may struggle with jealousy, envy, comparison, competing, putting you down, being unsupportive, or emotionally needy/entitled.
- If you are doing all the giving, initiating, serving, etc…it’s charity/ministry or associate not a friendship.
- Take time to get to know people before calling them friend or giving access to your heart/life. Everyone does not need access or to know your business.
- It is challenging to truly know who someone is online. Spend time in person if you can. I have met numerous people who appear like Jesus online and in person they are unkind, rude, selfish, and toxic.
- Don’t just trust a person because they claim to be a Christian, a minister, etc…goes back to point 6. Take time to get to know a person’s character.
- Some people are ministry assignments or associates, not friends. Friendship is a higher level of trust and involves mutual investment. Friends are trustworthy.
- Pray over relationships. God sees what we cannot see. Listen to God even if the person is shouting, “I love you so much!”
- We are not a great fit for everyone. Sure, be friendly/kind to all. It does not mean every person is a good fit for friendship.
- Some people are attracted to what you carry, they do not value you as a person. They are fans not friends. Jesus has tons of fans, far less close friends.
- You can eat at the table with Judas, wash his feet, yet not take him up the mount of transfiguration.
- God expects us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, not more than we love ourselves.
- If you don’t set boundaries, people will run all over you. People treat you how you let them treat you.
- God wants His kids to have great relationships just like a natural parent would.
- They say you attract who you are. Sometimes you attract who you are not. If you are happy, you may attract negative people. If you are a giver, you may attract takers.
- Selfish people can be dangerous. They primarily think about themselves.
- Sometimes the person who flatters you the most is the least trustworthy with your heart.
- People say loads of things, watch what they do.
- Focus on becoming a wiser person attracts wiser friends. Get wisdom, gain discernment. We don’t owe everyone friendship.
Hope these tips help!
Here is a bonus sermon: https://youtu.be/3kwA9HQ0Zj4