Relationships in the Body of Christ
By Norma Miller
November 1, 2014
Throughout our lifetimes, we meet a lot of people. We connect with many people, and develop relationships with quite a few of them. Seasons come and go, and people come and go. Sometimes we are ready to let go of someone before they are ready to let go of us, or maybe they are ready to let go before we are.
God uses people in our lives in many ways. Some of them need us for encouragement, for someone to believe in them. Some are in our lives to irk us so we are driven to the feet of Jesus. Some are there to speak grace into our lives. Some people are meant to be connected to us for life and others for only a season or a moment. We need to choose wisely those who we allow deeply into our hearts. We also must be willing to fight to protect those relationships.
Gossip can destroy relationships. Relationships are broken when someone hears and believes false information about another. This could have been avoided if only they had cared enough to check with their friends and discover the truth. Do we care enough about people to verify information before we give them a cold shoulder?
Relationships can also be destroyed when we are not willing to invest in them. Good relationships don't just happen; they take work, and honest communication, even when it is hard. Do we care enough to invest in others? Do we care enough about people to get to know them before we make a judgment about them? Do we care enough to take the effort to say hi and get past the awkward stage of finding something to talk about? Listening to some people takes work. Is it worth it to you? Some of the people I have least expected to get along with or to have anything in common with, ended up being my closest friends.
I remember meeting one gal who seemed a little stuck up, and I was not sure how to take her. But something in her eyes caused me to stop and consider. I realized she was a cautious person, kind of shy, and self-protective. She wanted to be careful about the relationships she got into. She is now one of my very dearest friends. I can count on her when the 'whole world is against me'. Another girl I know is super quiet and shy. It is work for her to open her heart and talk, and it is work for me to be quiet and listen, but she is a good friend. I am learning to give her lots of time to share, and she is opening up more and more; she has such a sweet heart. But I had to give these women a chance, and they had to give me a chance. We had to decide if it was worth the effort it took to build a relationship.
When something seems to be creating distance between us and a friend, do we care enough to reach out and talk about it? If their life seems to be winding in a slightly different direction, are we willing to reach out to them or are we content just to let them slowly float away?
If we do not understand the decisions someone is making, or feel they have made unwise or even wrong decisions, are we ready to cut them off without giving them a chance? What do we want our friends to do when they disagree with us or with a direction our lives are taking?
These are good questions to ask ourselves. We can hurt others without intending to, without having a clue of what we are doing. Are you willing to fight to protect your relationships? Are you willing to have heart to heart talks that may take you out of your comfort zone, for the sake of a relationship? Are you willing to give second chances? Are you willing to refuse to believe rumors until you have given your friends a chance to explain themselves? Are you willing to work to keep a relationship alive and healthy? Will you choose to walk toward them and reach out in love? Will you ask God if this relationship was for a season and it is time to let go, or if perhaps He wants you to work on this relationship? What is the price you are willing to pay for the sake of the people in your life?
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