I am not prone to thinking of others as my enemy. Oh, I do have enemies - but to me they are things like: substance use disorder, abuse and neglect, poverty and prejudice. All these things that, to my way of thinking, whittle away and endanger a world that welcomes the kingdom of God in its midst.
In order to find compassion, I believe my work in evaluating all my relationships is twofold: 1. Do not impose my interpretation (and expectations) of how the world SHOULD work on others and 2. Believe folks when they teach me how they believe the world should work. That way, I can make a wiser, more informed decision about how we relate to one another.
If I fail to embrace either of these two practices in all my relationships, I’m going to be danger of making several crucial relationship mistakes:
1. I am going to mistakenly believe that someone is a trusted friend in life when they are NOT.
2. I am going to limit my connections with others who might make awesome friends even though we are very different.
3. I’m going to bail on relationships that I could maintain with a bit more intentionality.
4. I’m going to hold on too long to a relationship that deserves a compassionate end.
Do any of these options feel like experiences you have had in your own relationships? I wonder if we each tend to have a pattern to our relationship problems?
To be continued...