Thursday, April 15, 2010

Holding Fast and Pressing On in Relationships

     I love people!  Most of the time.....  I have to say though there are times when people drive me crazy.  It seems as though the people I care about the most drive me the craziest.  When this happens I must take a look at me and not them.  We all have many relationships in our lives.  We have friends, spouses, children, parents, siblings, work associates, fellow believers and so many more.  When we look at those relationships we must look at our responsibility and not at what we want from those we are in relationships with.  Recently God had confronted me with a number of situations where I have had to discover what I believed, hold fast to it and press on in my relationships. 
     I am a natural giver.  I love to care for others and see others become successful. I am the queen of the win/win situation. I have been accused of being a "Pollyanna" when it comes to my relationships.  I believe the best about those I love sometimes resulting in pain because I am not always wise in how I deal with people.  I have had to look at that attitude lately and see if there is a flaw in the way I think.  I have reached the conclusion that I would rather view people from a perspective of believing the positive than view others from a place of suspicion.  Ultimately I want others to believe the best about me, so I should believe the best of others.
     To evaluate what I believe about people I must look to Christ. Christ always saw others potential.  He saw them as God intended them to be and encouraged them to press on to become more like Himself.  God's intent for each one of us is to be more like Christ.  He loves us because He chose to love us not because we do anything for Him.  Our devotion and obedience demonstrate our love for God but do not earn us God's love.  We are loved just because we are.  We only experience the fullness of that love when we choose to submit our lives to God and trust Christ as Savior.  
     When Christ was in the upper room before he went to the cross he knew Judas would betray him and yet He washed his feet just as He washed the others feet (John 13:1-20).  He knew Peter would deny Him and that John would be the only one to remain at the foot of the cross and yet He treated them all with the utmost love and was an example of  how we are to love others. His love for them was not based on their worthiness, Christ's love for them was His choice and responsibility.  This is what I believe I am to hold fast to.  I must hold fast to the conviction that Christ loves me because I am His and not because of anything I do.  I must also hold fast to the truth that Christ wants me to love others in the same way He loves them.
    There were many times when Christ showed his love by being encouraging, by healing, and by reaching out His hand but there were times that He showed His love by rebuke and correction.  I am to love others by lovingly bringing truth to their life whether it is in the form of encouragement or rebuke.  I only love myself when I don't confront others in love.  I only love myself when I don't risk by choosing to communicate in any situation.  I only love myself when I worry more about how the other person is going to react than whether I am being obedient to communicate.  I do not know what God's plan is when He lays someone on my heart to communicate with; but it is my responsibility to obey.  
    Just this week I was confronted with a situation where God laid someone on my heart and I fought with God over communicating with this person because I had the expectation that they should communicate with me or at least let me know that they wanted to be communicated with.  As I was wrestling with this I received an email that shared a new book a friend thought I might be interested in called the 100/0 Principle by Al Ritter.  The excerpt that was sent to me talked about how to have fulfilling relationships and that we must take 100 percent of the responsibility for the relationship without expecting anything in return.  I had to go before God and confess I want so much for people to like me, to approve of me and to appreciate me. Wanting these things is not wrong but I am not to avoid those who do not give them to me.  I am to take responsibility for the relationships in my life and treat others with the love Christ requires without worrying about how they will receive it.  That is up to them and God.  I can't control it.  I must press on toward maturity in how I love others.  
     I am now working to hold fast to the truth that Christ loves me because he chose to and not based on what I do.  I am holding fast to the truth that my obedience does not change Christ's love for me but it does bring me peace when I do what is right.  I am holding fast to the truth that I am to love others as Christ did.  I am pressing on in my positive perspective of others. I am pressing on in my love for others by communicating even when I don't know the outcome.  I am pressing on by taking responsibility for the relationships in my life and expecting nothing in return. 
     Bottom line....there is less craziness in my love for others when I know the truth of God and Hold Fast to it as I Press On in my pursuit of the relationships God has put in my life.  And indeed I do still love people by my own choice even when they make me crazy because in the end there is great reward!

Holding Fast and Pressing On,

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