Hurt people hurt people – and we want to stop that whirlpool, right?
Because loved people love people.
So, we might shoot for these five relationship habits, to start the love revolution in our circles of influence and concern –
Ask God to close your wounds and turn the scars into beautiful features that tell a glory story.
Pray for wisdom, courage and extraordinary kindness. Ask Jesus if you can borrow His feelings for the hurters and the haters.
Ask the Holy Spirit to be the oil that has you gliding kindly past those whose jagged edges grate.
For any interactions, interventions, random convos: prepare your heart.
Rehearse the story you hope to tell after those encounters (the kind of story where you don’t have to leave out the bits you wish you hadn’t said). Like an athlete visualising victory, picture being the gracious human you’d love people to love.
And relentlessly, persistently, unremittingly prepare yourself to keep on being sincerely warm, compassionate, engaged, interested. It’s not fake. You’re not pretending to be nice. You’re deciding to actually BE nice.
#3 Practise your gifts
My friend Steven reminded me recently that when we use our God-given gifts, His presence, power and purposes manifest in us and through us.
When you’re around those who’ve wounded you, decide beforehand (see #2) not to shrink back and play the victim.
Rather, step up, step out, and use the wonder of your gifts to rewrite those relationships. Give people the gift of your smile, your humour, your intellect, your empathy. Trust that God will make Himself known in the midst of all your doings and dealings: mighty to save, and faithful to accomplish His plans for you.
God says to Jerusalem, ‘Then I, Myself, will be a protective wall of fire around Jerusalem… And I will be the glory inside the city!’ (Zechariah 2:5)
He’s the Defender of Jerusalem. He’s your Defender too. He’s the wall around you and the radiance within, and so, you can stand.
Trust that His holy fire will burn. Trust that anything untrue – words, accusations, thoughts or intentions – will turn to ash. Trust that what’s true will stand – even if what stands is hard for you to hear.
Aristotle figured you get three kinds of friends:
Pleasure friends hang out with you if or when you’re interesting or entertaining.
Utility friends text when they need help, invite when you’ll add value to whatever they’re trying to achieve, and include when your influence helps their agenda.
Virtue friends stay. They’re the real deal.
Let’s stick by people and be real-deal, virtue friends. Let’s also be fun, and useful. But let’s be friends who don’t just consume but rather contend for our people as prayer warriors, promoters, patient forgivers. Let’s be friends who stay friends.
. . .
Wishing you LOVE this Valentine’s weekend! (Minus plastic flashing roses and over-priced schmaltz.)
Please go ahead and share this post with your people.
Here’s what’s on the menu if you’re reading this in an email: