Nov 21, 2010

Don't take it personal

Matthew 10:8b—Freely you have received, freely give.

Being a Christian means living an extraordinary life.  And that means in all aspects.  It means doing your best at work.  It means being truthful.  It means doing what you can for others.  And it also means being a good friend... all of the time.

Yes, all the time.  Even when your friends aren't doing what you think they should be doing.  It's loving them unconditionally, and praying and supporting them even if you don't understand what they're doing and why.

Maybe your best friend is moving across the country.  Or maybe someone whom you are very close with needs space.  Perhaps a family member is going through some struggles that you don't understand.  I think it's so easy at first to think, "Why are you hurting me?  What did I do?" But living a Christian lifestyle means taking your own emotions out of the equation and wondering how you can help another person.


"Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you. When you dare to reveal yourself fully. When you dare to be vulnerable."  - Dr. Joyce Brothers


Today I had a really great conversation over coffee with a friend I hadn't seen in awhile.  And one thing he told me was that "nothing is personal."  We should all live our lives that way -- when we are treated unfairly, when an injustice has occurred, when people we love do things we don't understand; it's not a direct result of our relationship with them.  It's more than likely something internally they are going through and struggling with.  And the best thing you can do for them is be there for support, laughter and mostly love.  If they don't want you around to offer those things, perhaps it's probably for the best during that time in their life. Maybe giving them the space they need will help them (and perhaps your relationship with them) in the long run.  It's essential to still love and pray for them, even if you aren't a direct part of their life.  That's the best thing you can do, and it's the testament of a true friend.

Romans 12:10—Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.

For me, I struggle with that a lot -- I want everyone in my life to know that I love them and that I'm there for them.  So when someone is going through a difficult time, I want them to know they have someone to confide in, and that I love and care for them.  But sometimes people just need to be alone to meddle in their own feelings.  They need to go through the struggle alone so they can come out on the other side standing firmly on their two feet.  I've learned that I am not in control and I cannot fix what needs to be fixed.  All I can do is offer that support when they need it and let God handle the rest.  Just remember that you do not know God's plan for someone else.  Stop trying to play God!  More than likely He is trying to teach you something as well.

I've seen so many friendships and romantic relationships go down in flames because one person (or both) is struggling internally, but they're afraid to do what needs to be done: be alone for awhile.  Regardless of the reason -- to find themselves, to find a passion, to figure out a problem they're having, to recognize feelings and emotions, to work on their character -- whatever it is, they need to be alone to do it, but fear loneliness.  Unfortunately, too many of us feel like we need people to get by; that we need a million friends or a significant other to make things better.

We don't need anything in life except for our faith in God.  With that, we will be able to work through all things.  We need to recognize that while someone we care about might do things we don't understand, it's not because we're at fault.  Stop thinking about yourself and start empathizing for what the other person may be going through!   Let them do their thing, let them learn and grow, and offer as much love and support to them as possible.  They'll more than appreciate it in the end.

Stop taking things personally!  It's not productive nor accurate most of the time.  Once we get off of the "me" factor, we can start focusing on what's more important: good will towards others.

Matthew 22:37-40—Jesus replied:  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

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