How to Build Relationships
You’d be amazed the things that new friends reveal when they feel accepted and heard. Really, have you ever met up with someone on the sole basis of getting to know them? Not their struggles, not in an attempt to fix or lead, or sell something, but just to meet up and learn about the person. A crap-load of things happen in a life and if we are willing to share and reveal and really get to know people we can learn so much. I am incredibly tired of judgement. I’m guilty of it as well, even when I don’t set out to be judge-y.
I know that my words are suppose to be honorable but also relatable to others. You know people that speak with such big words just to sound remarkably intelligent at the expense of excluding others…yeah I’ve never been a fan of theirs. I mean my vocabulary is ok, possibly above average? I am pretty well spoken. If I am around highly intellectual folks, I can up my game and throw in some big words for good measure. However the language we use can do as much bad as good. I’m not talking about cuss words, here. I’m talking about speaking Christian-ese. At church, years ago I remember being greeted by a nice man and having him correct the way I answered his greeting. He shook my hand, said welcome and asked how I was. I had a big friendly smile, made eye-contact and said, “thank you, I’m doing good.” (I know saying “I’m well” is more respectable-grammatically speaking, but sometimes “well” sounds like just getting by and “good” sounds, well…BETTER!) Anyways, that nice man took the chance to correct me. His response was, “you mean you’re blessed!”
Christian-ese: the act of trying to sound more Christian than the “other” guy by the words you say.
Ok, that’s not in Webster’s Dictionary, that is the Hannah Sierra version. Ugh! I was happy and smiling and then I was mad and bothered. Why was he trying to put words into my mouth? I know he was well-meaning. I understand that on the deepest level he wanted me to be able to acknowledge that my good day was from God. I get that. I know that…but this was a big turn off…and I’m already a Christian. Think of how confusing all the Christian-speak is to those that aren’t. Ew! If we are speaking the same language, then let’s really speak the same language.
It drives me nuts, this religion-stuff does, sometimes. There is kind of a stigma against the word, “religion,” in these modern days. Christians claim not to be “religious” because that is viewed as stingy and old. Instead we claim to love Jesus. Heck yes, I LOVE HIM. I believe that HE is why I’m here. What I don’t appreciate are those same people claiming to love Jesus but they give a lot of Christians a bad name. No one likes a weirdo…no one. Purple eyebrows, fine! Tattoos from ankles to neck, whatever man! But no one likes judgement. It doesn’t feel good and everything about judge-y people is a turn off. So why are we not learning? Why do we think that our morals have somehow set us higher up on the ladder than others?!
I have a group of friends that get together sometimes. We are soooo different, but also pretty similar. We are all married, we each have kids. We grocery shop, try to exercise and we each love to be with our families. However there are so many differences. Some of these friends like to drink alcohol, cuss, laugh and be very loud, lol. Another friend is quiet, waits for her chance to speak, is careful not to cross the line between being funny and inappropriate, and wouldn’t touch alcohol even if only to pass the bottle across the table to one of the boozers. Me, I’m somewhere in the middle, agh, does that make me lukewarm?? I had a few takeaways from our last hang out together. Why is it that Christians think that they are serving their faith by excluding others? I feel loved and accepted by some in the group more so than others. I LOVE THEM ALL. I find such joy in being able to get to know each of them better. I am proud of the ways that they are all strong and admire the ways they love and support their husbands. But I wondered why I feel more accepted by some of them? Is it because I think I’m better than them, HECK NO! Is it because my house is cleaner than theirs? Nope, that’s probably not even close to being true! Is it because when they leave, I don’t think that they went home, replayed the conversations in their head and thought of all the ways that I fell short? Probably!
I hope that we can learn to see more relationships this way. It is my hope that we would make more room in our lives for people that are not exactly like us. I hope that we can stop trying to convince and persuade. The friends that are a bit rough around the edges have taught me tons about love. They open their homes. HUGE! They invite us all in. BYOB, lol. They don’t care if you have water or wine in your adult sippy cup, they just want to be together- making memories.
Can we be more like this? Christians or not, can we come together more often? Can we stop posting dumb divisive responses to things we don’t agree with on social media?! You may never persuade someone to think your way is best if you are only building yourself up, by making others feel small. Proving points is also no way to lead. I think somethings are more important than being right, or heard, or seen. Can we please do a better job listening? I would love if we would stop looking at the fact that we have different morals or beliefs as a sign that we are superior in some way. Do better each day. I say this as a reminder to myself as much as to you. Say something kind to someone as often as you can. Ask people how they are and give them the time to answer honestly. Reach out, throw away your expectations and just get to know people. We are called to love. If non-Christians are better at loving than we are, then we aren’t doing what we were called for.