People are pesky. They betray. They hurt us. They trample our hearts. So why even try? Why not just give into bitterness and isolate ourselves the rest of our lives?
Because we will never experience deep joy in life if we cut ourselves off from others.
A. B. Simpson wrote, “God’s most beautiful jewels are often delivered in rough packages by very difficult people, but within the package we will find the very treasure of the king’s palace and the bridegroom’s love.”
In short, we grow better together.
I’ve lamented this truth because it doesn’t make sense to me. If people hurt me, wouldn’t it be wiser to steer clear of them? If I did that, I could prevent future bitterness and protect my heart from injury. Isn’t an un-injured heart better able to experience joy?
Actually, no. It’s the healed heart that dares to risk in relationship again that changes the world, that experiences joy.
Here’s a hard truth. When we’re injured by others, God often asks us to reengage with safe community to heal our hearts.
I can’t make you engage with others. It’s your choice. Today is a clean slate with your relationships. You can choose to interact or withdraw.
7 questions that help you discern your friendships:
- When have you pulled away from community? Why? How has God wooed you back in?
- Would other people say you enjoy being with others?
- How do you spend your free time?
- Which relationship in your life right now scares you?
- Who has been the most positive influence over your life? Who has helped you grow?
- Do you actively seek ways to encourage those around you? Why or why not?
- What prevents you from risking your heart right now?
Prayer: Jesus, this scares me. I want the joy that comes from friendship, but it’s hard for me to become vulnerable to people. I’m afraid they’ll hurt me or judge me. I’m afraid they’ll walk out on me. Help me to entrust my heart to You so I can be brave in relationships. I need Your help in this. Amen.
This is an ongoing Thursday series based on the book Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus. It’s the book I wrote that details how exactly we can grow in our relationship with Jesus in a life-altering, hope-fueling way. It’s everything I know about discipleship and growth.