As I moved to this apartment, I was thrilled at the blessings that this place had to offer.. so many of them meeting my many heart’s desires.. and I still continue to give thanks to God for them. Yet as each day passes and I live in this place, my eyes are being opened to things that I hadn’t noticed before. A white tile in the midst of the grey tiles panelling the edge of the kitchen working surface area. How did I miss that before? The brown splash of paint on the inside of the front door which obviously isn’t blending! Did I really not see that before or wasn’t I conscious of seeing it? The list goes on and grows.
Then it brings me to the point of wondering how to handle each of these faults, mismatches, lacks etc. Am I to bring it to the attention of the landlord to be fixed? Can I do something about it? Can it be overlooked? Is it really an issue or is it just an ‘inconvenience’ or a ‘cosmetic’ flaw? Does it need to be repaired or fixed? How expensive would it be? Can it be perhaps done at a later date? Would it cause further damage if postponed or overlooked? Various types of evaluations have to be done.. and some adjustments on my part too. Not everything can be hunky dory – such is life.
Our relationships are not much different… and by relationships I don’t mean just ‘love’ relationships but also friendships and family ties and our interactions with anyone we come across.
At the onset people all seem to be pretty cool … well that makes sense as we all do tend to put our best foot forwards. However, as believers, the Holy Spirit often warns us through giving us discernment to a certain measure. As we continue to interact with people, the more closely we interact the more we ‘discover’ about them.. We begin to understand what makes them tick, what makes them happy, we learn to decipher where their words are merely sweet talk and when the walk actually matches the talk..
Any healthy relationship needs to be WORKED ON. Good things NEVER come easy. It takes a commitment of time and effort to get to know one another – it cannot be achieved with a hi and a bye as many people would like to do it. We begin to see positives, negatives, faults, lacks, pros and cons and what not the more the quality time we spend with one another. As we get closer to another we begin to share our lives so that we can understand one another…
As these things take place each one of us have to make a ‘commitment’ to work on these friendships and relationships. Evaluations have to take place!
- Do these people matter to us or not?
- What are the areas of strengths? Can I live with them? Does it irritate me so much that I can’t stand them? Likewise with their weaknesses!
- What about with the flip sides of their strengths? Someone dresses well without a crease in their clothes… how can you handle their perfectionistic nature?
- Can you accept these people as they are with their strengths and their flaws?
- What is it that you can and need to overlook in the other person? Are you prepared to do that
- What is it that you can see an area of incompatibility that can be worked on? How can it be worked on? Can you have a heart to heart chat and decide to give each other a chance with progressive expectations? Would a counsellor help? Will you both pray about it together and individually?
- What is it that you need to pray about and seek God’s direction and wisdom?
- Is there abuse or any other harm that will need you to walk away from the other for your protection (emotional, physical, sexual or hierarchal) and for their healing? Have you taken the measures to try to talk to them and see that they can get help? If they don’t admit their flaws and weaknesses then of course you can’t stay put as that would end up harming both and any dependents too.
Forgive as God forgives you.. forgive so that the Father can forgive you. Forgiveness means letting go of the negative emotions that the hurts and wrongs trigger, forgiveness means being able to bless them from the bottom of your heart.. and forgiveness doesn’t mean being a door mat to let them wallow in their unhealthy habits.
As long as it depends on you, live at peace with one another.. if you can’t live at peace with another and to make peace it doesn’t depend on you then you can walk away! If the people involved are truly believers then they will of course make an attempt to make peace. Sometimes people are ‘uncomfortable’ with another blame shifting but it actually boils down to their own insecurities and areas that they need to work on.
Our relationship with God however is so different. Despite how much we reject HIM, He patiently waits for us with His arms wide open to embrace us as soon as we repent and do a u-turn! Despite how much we fall off the narrow path and walk on the wide path, He gently nudges us back. If we of course decide not to follow that nudge He doesn’t get angry but is patient with us and gives us time and a chance. It’s not HIS desire to see any of us perish but if we continue to be stubborn then He doesn’t force us.. and if we do perish that is the consequence of our own actions and not because He ordained it. So don’t blame God for a hardened heart and don’t accuse Him of punishing either.
He certainly disciplines those He loves and yearns for us to heed to that if we love Him..to restore us into Him image and His likeness the way He had originally planned for us prior to the Fall.
Are you willing to allow Him to change you and refine you or do you want to walk away with your own earthly wisdom. The choice is yours and so are the consequences come what may.
Just remember though that any relationship whether it be with friends, colleagues, partners or even God doesn’t come easy.
A good quality relationship takes work and much sacrifice
with give and take and a certain extent of compromise.
The choice is yours – allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you at this very moment!