It is the beginning of yet another year. As we sit down to reflect on the previous year and make plans for the current year I believe a lot of us have plans to do and be better, to grow and achieve more. I have been seeing a lot of interesting #2018Goals on social media but the ones that really caught my attention were the ones about relationships and cutting people off. I don’t know about you but I do believe that it is important to evaluate your relationships and make wise choices about the people you spend time with. Looking back through 2017 I can attest to friends I have lost, people who hurt me, new relationships that have been built and even old ones that have been strengthened.
The previous year was a bit tough for me in the area of relationships. The relationships in my life that I thought were solid were not really as solid as I made them out to be. As you can imagine, I was really hurt by all of this and most times I found myself seeking comfort from the fact that God will remove the people that aren’t meant to be in my life. I found myself screaming the loudest amen when I see quotes like “elevation requires separation”, when a message is preached about “the people who left your life were not supposed to be there for your next level”. As much as I completely agree with all of the above, my “amens” were more so from hurt, bitterness and an “I’ll show them” attitude than from actually believing this truth. And of course the Holy Spirit had to burst my little bubble.
Look at this from a fresh perspective; what if you are the person who needed to be cut off from their life so that THEY can go to their next level? What if you’re the bad friend? What if you’re the cause of the separation? Sometimes we are quick to play victim without truthfully evaluating the true root of the problem. Are you really as good a friend as you claim to be? Do you hold yourself to the exact same high standards that you hold your friends? Yes, I can attest to losing friends and being hurt by people but on the flip side I can also attest to hurting some people and not cultivating some friendships.
It is high time that we stop making excuses and playing victim. As important as it is to evaluate the people in our lives and make decisions on who stays and who goes, it is equally important to evaluate ourselves and work on being better in terms of relationships. The Bible has great lessons on friendship. The most fascinating one for me is John 15:13 which says that there is no greater love than this, that one would lay his life for a friend! This verse perfectly describes Jesus’ friendship with us. I don’t know about you but I’m definitely not there yet.
So what do we do to become better friends and build more meaningful relationships?
- Love covers all things
When I asked God what it means to be a friend and how I can be a better friend, the one thing that He told me was love. 1 Corinthians 13 is exactly what any relationship should be based on. When you truly love someone, there are things you definitely will not do to hurt them. And even if you hurt them unintentionally, love will lead you to apologize, confess and forgive. Love truly does cover a multitude of sin.
- The fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5:22-23 speaks on the fruit of the Spirit, all of which can be cultivated through building our relationship with God. Study the Bible, pray, be honest about your struggles, commune with the Holy Spirit. It’s a journey, you won’t learn it overnight so be patient with yourself. As you consistently commune with God, you will become more and more like Him!
- Communication is key
Lift your hand if you’ve ever been upset at your friend for doing something that hurt you but you didn’t say anything to them because you didn’t want to ruffle their feathers. Instead you went around and told everyone else but the person you’re upset with OR you just held it against them. *lifts two hands up*
Honestly guys, this is how you lose covenant relationships. It is important to communicate. And by communicate, I don’t mean be rude or thoughtless or speak out of anger. Be wise and LOVING in your communication. How do you build a relationship if you’re not honest about the issues that come up?
There are also some other great examples of friendships in the Bible; David and Jonathan being my most favorite one. Abraham and God were also friends, so were Jesus and Peter. It would do us good to study these people and their relationships and learn how to apply that in our relationships. But most importantly we should learn from the best of friends in all the earth: Jesus! The more we become like Him, the better the friend we become.
So no, this is not your regular “New Year new me” post! This is for those of us who want to grow, those of us who are ready to put on our big girl/big boy pants and stand and deal. Who are willing to have the hard conversations with ourselves and with others and to truly BECOME who God created us to be.
Biblical Inspiration: 1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5: 22-23, John 15:13
I honour you.