It is easier to give up than to endure with people. It is easier to walk away than to listen and understand. It is easier to “be right” and to decide them “all wrong” than to hear another perspective.
For years, I decided: 1. People would not understand me. 2. They’d hardly Listen. 3. They’d never change. So, when difficult conversations arose, irritants surfaced, or things got tough to handle — I’d pull-the-carpet out from under all of us. I’d quit the job. I’d run from the relationship. I’d decide the other party wasn’t – godly. I’d figure they didn’t have good intentions. I’d decide they were carrying too much “baggage”.
Areas where God wanted to grow me, I ran from. I started over with other people, rather than going deeper with people I’d already spent years getting to know. My loss.
What relationships have you run from?
In more recent years, my whole paradigm has shifted. Now, I realize:
- People are growing just as I am.
- When I give leeway, love, and a listening ear, others find radical growth with God.
- More than changing them, God is usually up to changing me.
- Fighting for “relationship” — and accepting hard truths about yourself — often means gaining a life-long friend or spouse.
- There is usually more than meets the eye when it comes to a person’s offensive action.
Seeking to understand before seeking to run away is to uncover a deeper level of intimacy. This doesn’t mean there aren’t cases where it makes sense to put up a boundary, to set some distance or to end a relationship (that is a whole other post, for another day).
(Love). . . always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor. 13:7)
Love hopes: It hopes in the good coming for others. It hopes, believing they have good intentions. It hopes for great outcomes during hard-to-have conversations. It hopes in the Lord when the going gets tough. It hopes in miracles that proceed ardent prayer. It hopes to grow personally, more than it wants to fix others relationally.
Love perseveres: It tries again. It goes back to the drawing board to listen. It sees the potential and believes God to show up. It tells the truth, despite how hard it is. It shares the core-issue rather than covering over it and hiding it away. It gives the abundant grace needed, as much as it wants it for itself. It dies to fleshly responses.
“Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:8)
Anything done in love, in God’s eyes, cannot fail. With “love,” you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Love lasts straight through earth into eternity. . . No man can halt, hinder or stop the lasting power of love you unleash. It is not dependent on them, but always reliant on God. To the complete extolment of God.
Love is never wasted.
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I tend to withdraw, too, rather than move forward to deal with issues. This especially stood out to me today: “to grow personally, more than it wants to fix others relationally.” So often it’s about the change I need to see in myself rather than in the other person.
I have been a bridge-burner all my life–that is, until we settled here on this country hill and found a church family who worships with us and does life alongside us in both practical and transcendent ways.
Thanks for your ministry of words.
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God thrust me into working with at-risk kids that others had given up on. When He opened my eyes that kids don’t misbehave (and that was putting it very mildly & simplistically) without a reason, I began to understand it’s the same with adults. I love the last line: “Love is never wasted.”
I love your 5 points, Kelly. I’m realizing those more and more too. I especially see #3 in action: pay more attention to how God wants to change me rather than how I want to change others.
When we remember this: “People are growing just as I am”
We are reminded to offers so much more grace!