Get Adobe Flash player

Friends, Family & Holidays – 2017-10-31

The holidays are coming… as I am doing my quote search for the calendar, I have found a lot of quotes on friends, family, and the holidays – some about the blessings, many about the dysfunction and drama. “The power of friendship, for good or for evil, is great. Friends have a tremendous impact on one another’s thughts, actions, and life choices. During the identity-shaping years and throughout life, our friends and family help us figure out who we are, even as we shape and influence others. To a great extent, we discover ourselves-our identity – through the feedback we get from friends and family. Through the eyes of others, we discover who we are. Friends act as a mirror or reflection of who we are becoming.We begin to define ourselves and just the focus of our self-image from our interaction with others. In other words, you become who you hang with.” Lisa Ryan, For Such a Time as This.  Often our family/friend relationships fall into 3 categories:
True friends – real, deep, meanginful friendships (often 1-7 people). These friends need to be chosen very carefully. These are the friends with whom you communicate on a  whole different level: you HEAR and they HEAR, sometimes you hold each other’s feet ot the fire, sometimes you nurture, encourage, and lift up weary hands and hearts – and they do the same for you. This is an equal relationship.

Casual friends/acquaintances – we might have fun when we’re together, but there is not that level of transparency, depth and mutual sharing. These relationships are often one-sided – expectations often run one way. These are often our field of ministry, people on whose lives we try to have a positive impact or they might be business acquaintances.

Dangerous relationship – these are the toxic, unhealthy, often punitive relationships that we often find ourselves transfixed by, when we should be running. Sometimes our heart does not want to give up on these people… Honestly, these are the relationships that require the full armor of God – we need to shield, pray, and be on guard at all moments. These are often the controlling, manipulative, critical, or spiteful people in our lives. Sometimes they put on a good show, they pretend to have our best interests in mind, but they have an ulterior motive. Often these people will use you or your relationship to deflect attention away from their issues and misconduct.

I remember the quote, “blood is thicker than water…” It seems to me that when our car oil gets thick, Mike changes it… sometimes change is necessary… sometimes that looks like boundaries, sometimes that looks like communication, sometimes that looks like distance. I had someone share with me several years ago, that they had learned to get along in a particular situation, because they knew their place in that situation. That was quite wise, and I have been learning to apply that to my relationships. We often do not get to choose what a relationship will look like: loving or toxic, encouraging or critical… we can reach out, and if our hand is ignored or slapped away, it is pretty apparent the other party’s heart is not where ours is, they do not desire the depth of relationship that we do. While we can pray for their heart, we cannot force their heart into relationship and need to accept the place this relationship holds in our life: “casual/acquaintance” or “dangerous.”

Real relationship requires two people who are willing to invest in the relationship: hearing, and being heard; giving and receiving. Real relationship can only be achieved with those safe people in our lives: those who accept us as we are, accept our boundaries and are not critical and condemning. These are NOT fair weather friends, they are faithful friends who will pray with and for us.

If someone is not willing to be real and authentic with you, that is a sure sign that it is inappropriate for you to be open and authentic with them – they are looking for a superficial acquaintance, not a real relationship. Sometimes friends, change categories and they change. Sometimes we have to let go of someone who has fallen to a level of disrespect or toxicity that was previously not a part of their character (or not a character attribute we were aware of). “Sometimes during crucial periods in our lives, God separates us from negative influences that might hinder us or drag us down and brings into our lives loyal companions that will help us as we prepare to serve the King.” Lisa Ryan,” for such a time as this

Stress and drama are often created when we try to push someone into a relationship they don’t want. Stress and drama are exhausting! We need to know our place in other people’s lives: Recognize the signs and invest the correct energy into each: we can invest deeply in those with whom real relationship is possible, casually in those casual friendships, and prayerfully/guardedly in the dangerous ones.

Deeper Still:

A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17

20 He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will be destroyed. Proverbs 13

A man of too many friends comes to ruin,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend. Proverbs 27:9

As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10

33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 1 Corinthians 15

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:37-38

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 2 Corinthians 6

14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4

7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is. Galatians 5

The Value of a Friend
9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4