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I am reading Safe People by John Townsend/Dr. Henry Cloud so let’s get started on what it looks like to choose safe people to do life with….Excerpts from Dr. Henry Cloud

Have you ever wondered why  some relationships seem to lead to genuine happiness, growth, fulfillment, and trust and others to pain and injury? Have you ever had the experience of meeting someone, finding them charming and attractive, then begin to trust them in some way, and later or possibly even earlier were hurt very, very badly by them? Or worse, have you done that more than once with the same kind of person?

It would be nice if we could all answer “no” to the above question, for that would mean that we would have avoided a lot of pain in our lives. And it would also be nice if those realities did not even exist so that we did not have to think about them. But the truth is that relationships can have the power to save our lives, or the power to ruin them.

Everywhere you turn, you can find people who can give testimonies of how God brought someone or a community of people to them in a specific time of their life and virtually turned their whole life around. In fact, that is God’s plan, to use good people to deliver His grace to us and cause us to grow ( 1Peter 4:10; Eph 4:16). God has ordained that we grow and are strengthened in our relationships with each other, as we find people who exercise the gifts that He has given them.

At the same time, you can find others who are in a lot of pain because the people that they have trusted their hearts to have hurt them deeply in various ways. And the reality is that God has talked about that fact as well. He has warned us that there are people you are to avoid getting into deep relationships with for a variety of reasons. They can hurt you, they can corrupt your morals, and they can and usually will lead you away from God. The enemy loves when you don’t spend time with God or listen for His directions in regards to your life.

David said that he would be careful to choose who would “minister to” him, and that he would avoid the ones that were hurtful ( Psalm 101). Jesus told us to watch out for people who make the “little ones stumble” and are like “devouring dogs.” ( Luke 17: 1,2 and Matt 7:6). God is very into reality. He does not sugar coat or manipulate anything, especially in an area as important as relationships.

 

These kind of hurts in our lives come in these areas…

Dating

Friendship

Spiritual Relationships

And the problem is that people have the tendency to pick certain kinds of people who hurt them over and over and over again. We have the tendency to fall into certain patterns of choosing hurtful people out of our own character weaknesses over and over again. Think about how you would answer the following questions…

Have you ever noticed that the problems of feelings that you are experiencing in your dating life are the same ones you had in a previous relationship?

Do you find that you continue to pick people to fall in love with or become close friends with who hurt you deeply?

Do you find yourself wondering are there any “good ones” out there?

Do you ever go through periods of emotional turmoil that are the results of picking someone who was not good for you?

Is ‘ how did I get myself into this?” something that stirs inside you?

If you answered yes to many of these questions, it is time to take a look at the ways and reasons you pick people who hurt you. And be sure that God has an interest in helping  you grow out of the pattern.

People who are honest about these patterns have a chance through spiritual growth to change their tendency to get into hurtful relationships. People who do not see that they play a part in the choosing set themselves up for more pain until they discover what is going on. And the change has to do with two areas. One is to recognize the character traits of hurtful people, and the other has to do with dealing with your own character issues that make you more vulnerable to that kind of relationship.

Evaluating Character

Many times Christians do not think of evaluating the character of those that they choose to be in relationship with. They often think that to do so would be to be judgemental. ( Luke 6:37). Certainly, we are not to play God and judge someone’s eternal state as the Judge of the Universe will. But we are commanded to judge in the sense of evaluating others in terms of our deciding to have close fellowship with them. ( 1 Cor. 5:9-13, 1 Cor 15:33)

Instead of looking to the kinds of character traits that God deems important, we look to external things that do not have much to do with how someone ultimately performs in relationships. We look at externals, even religious performance, how they appear, instead of what Jesus talked about as the deeper relational aspects of the law such as justice, mercy, faithfulness. (Matt 23:23). Is someone honest and fair? Are they merciful? Can they really be trusted? These are issues that Jesus told us to look at…

So, the first thing that we have to get over is the feeling that God does not want us to look at these things. It is OK and necessary to evaluate people ( Gal. 6:1). He wants us, to help others as well as protect ourselves from evil. ( Prov. 22:3)

In the book Safe People, John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud defined  safe character as someone who:

Draws me closer to God

Draws me closer to others

Helps me become the person God created me to be

As you think of people to date and become close friends with, and put yourself under spiritual direction with, think about those issues. Does your relationship with them help you grow spiritually and get closer to our loving God. What do you focus on? We become what we behold, what we gaze at. Does it help you become more loving and relational? And does it help you to grow as the person God wants you to be? These are good things to think about as they have to do with the two greatest commandments and becoming Christlike.

It is important that you learn to recognize things like…

perfectionism

inability to really connect

control issues

judgemental

domineering traits- power plays even in their body language, no balance, equality

defensiveness

denial

dishonesty

and other traits the Bible talks about that are destructive and of course not of God

We all need to know what it is that we are looking to confront and to avoid. If you are going to give your heart to people and trust them, then you need to know what you are looking for. Search the scriptures. Pray for discernment that only comes from God.

God desires this for His children for two reasons… One is to be able to confront each other with the truth so we grow in a community and overcome. We are to be redemptive agents in each others lives. The second one is for your own protection and growth, as discussed above.

 

Our character weaknesses also need to be addressed to why we keep making poor choices that hurt us. It is not lack of knowledge but typically because we don’t know our worth and don’t know how to create healthy boundaries according to the word of God so we end up bearing the responsibility for the problem too.

We need a good support system in place. If you do not have that, pray for God to bring people. He will!

Own the problem, admit and repent. This is called confession

Identify the underlying.. Is it fear? Generational patterns? Loneliness? Financial?

Healing is necessary. Go for healing prayer, get wise counsel, talk to God

Keep practicing breaking these destructive patterns

God will deliver you as you submit yourself to Him. He will help you!

xo

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