Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pursuing Relationships with Wisdom and Discernment

Relationships are difficult work because they are made up of individuals who have competing wills, selfish hearts, different wants, set beliefs for how things are supposed to be, the desire to get their own way, bouts of stubbornness, and at times, an adamant refusal to compromise for the benefit of the other.

We hurt ourselves and the relationship when we are unwilling to communicate, apologize, be corrected and confronted, seek counsel if need be, see the situation from someone else's perspective, and display gentleness and humility in our dealings with others.

This is why setting boundaries early on in the relationship is so crucial. They are guidelines and fences, if you will, of what you expect and won't allow in a relationship. Every person should have more than a general idea of what they are looking for in a friend or a significant other because if you don't know the specifics of what to look for and the specifics of what to avoid, you are bound to choose the wrong sort of people to have close relationships with.

Please keep in mind that it is better to be alone than in the presence of bad company.

Something the Lord has been teaching me lately is to commit any desire I have to be friends with or get to know certain individuals to Him and ask (and trust!) for His will to be done in whether I get to know them or not. After all, God knows every person better than they even know themselves, so it is fully in our best interest to trust Him with the results of our every prayer because if we push to get our own way without willing surrender and a joyful submission to His perfect will (for our protection), we will either waste our time or end up hurt.

By all means, for the rest of your life and over every issue that arises, always have a willingness and eagerness to seek counsel, remain accountable, treasure God's word as the ultimate authority for your decision-making, and consult the wisdom of godly individuals who are mature and further along in their spiritual walk than you are. Doing all of this is sure to spare you much pain! Don't be lifted up in pride, coddle stubbornness or selfishness, let impatience get the best of you, run with your emotions, follow your heart, walk away from God, assume what the world has to offer is better than humbly serving the Lord and applying His word to your day-to-day life, ever think you are above making foolish choices, or compromise your standards out of loneliness.

We must take preventative measures to ensure we don't bring relational pain on ourselves by choosing people from the start who are no good for us. We must diligently read the word of God, study resources which expound it, and get outside intervention if need be regarding people in our lives and how we can deal with any relational troubles that occur.

I've learned that so much of the pain we experience in life is either by the hands of other people or because of our own poor choices. And while this does not take away the scars we've obtained through such terrible experiences, it is a reminder that we must make God our top priority so we are better equipped to make choices (in friendships and beyond) that will prevent pain instead of causing it.

Every person needs accountability and to be constant in their relationship with God. If Christians are to thrive in life and represent their King and Savior well, we must be extremely careful with our choices. And whom we choose to befriend, date, or marry is no exception.

"We make our choices and then our choices make us." Unknown

We are not promised a happy life and unfortunately other people can and do leave us in (or cause us to experience) terrible situations and circumstances (either by their own hands or because of their neglect which leaves us broken, abandoned, hurting, and in need). We must be willing to take responsibility for who we spend time with. Being wise with the company we keep will in many ways determine the course our lives take and sadly, some of the consequences we experience in life through poor relationship choices will leave us with no one to blame but ourselves. Never ignore the wise counsel and admonition of others who have your best interest at heart!

Let's not bring unnecessary pain on ourselves by ignoring Scriptural truth and guidelines for relationships or by pursuing people who are not healthy or will lead us astray. Momentary enjoyment is never worth the consequences it may bring. Never choose company for the sake of pacifying loneliness or to pass the time. Weigh your choices well. Have a plan and stick to it. Ask yourself what it is you are looking for in a friend and don't compromise for anyone (even if they are initially very nice). Trust God to provide the right friends for you. Cover this aspect of your life in prayer.

Quality relationships are hard to find and may be a precious rarity, yet there is nothing like the right company!


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