Focusing Up on Relationship Mistakes

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” Proverbs 14:4

To gather more crops means that I’m going to get the barn dirty. My choice to increase my crops (to better use my abilities) means that my barn will get dirty (mistakes will be added to my clean life). God is always teaching us how to better use the abilities that we already have.

Again, to gather more crops (my new abilities), I may need to grow the size of my fields. With God’s strength, I can make the fields bigger. But, in so doing, I will make mistakes because that is the only way to learn.

Mistakes will always happen in relationships because we are always looking to better ourselves. Here’s a good way to view the mistakes that happen in friendships.

Relationships are like bank accounts. I always want to have a positive balance in the account to have a healthy relationship. When I make mistakes, which I always do, then I make withdrawals from the relationship. When I know that relationships are like bank accounts, I know that I need to make deposits into that account during the good times so that my withdrawals don’t make the bank account balance go negative.

Just as yelling and anger are withdrawals, not speaking a person’s love language is also a withdrawal (See Gary Chapman’s great book The five Love Languages). Don’t misunderstand, this is true for any relationship. Different people have different strengths and weaknesses: Some people are singers, some programers, some teachers, some counselors, some leaders, etc. Speaking another’s love language is just another way to show that you care about them in a way they’ll understand. When you show them you care, you add a deposit. Grace and peace, doing the dishes, words of affirmation, hugs, and helping them with an important task that they have are all deposits.

In addition, look for signs that the bank account is in the negative. It’s not always easy to see. If the balance is negative, I know that I have to be more intentional about adding deposits and be very careful about my withdrawals. For example, if my friend tells me “Wow, you’re really screwed up” and I know that they’re not joking, I know that I have a relationship issue. If I heard that, I would need to be making lots and lots of deposits.

Remember, the value of the friendship is far more valuable then the cost of the mistake. So, don’t overreact. A true friend is worth more than any amount of gold. As a goal, look to make deposits into close friendships at least once a day.

“A true friend is one soul in two bodies.” Aristotle
“Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.” Aristotle
“Friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
ECC 4:9-10, Proverbs 27:6, Proverbs 27:17 ESVST

Love is just friendship set on fire.
Thanks be to The Lord our King who is constantly putting deposits into our accounts. He is a great, great friend.

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