34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
What does authentic love look like to you?
A discipling relationship with God and other people is a relationship where we are honest with one another, we cherish one another, and we speak words of truth over one another and into each other’s lives. Without this kind of honesty, are we really in relationships at all?
If Crosswalk is to be a community where people are living in authentic relationships with one another and with God, then it stands to reason that we must be people who are willing to love in ways that are not always comfortable, but are truthful. This can be particularly dangerous when we don’t have the trust that it requires.
What does it take to build trust?
I think trust has a few ingredients that must be present in order for it to grow. Here are the ones that I think are important:
- Intention. We must trust the intention of the other person. With God it is easy, in that we have a myriad of examples of God wanting what is best for us. But with one another, it can be more difficult. If we do not trust the intention of the other person in the relationship it is difficult to really be authentic.
- Listening. To have authentic relationships built on trust, we have to learn how to listen to the other person. That means really listening, not just listening to respond. It means that we have to stop our priorities and listen to hear theirs. Are you a good listener?
- Honesty. Honesty is something that goes both ways. It goes forward by the one speaking, but it is received by the one listening. If we are honest with ourselves, with God and with others, we begin to really build trust.
- Boundaries. These are important for authentic relationships as well. Without knowing your boundaries, you might get taken advantage of, but if you don’t understand other’s boundaries, you might be taking advantage of them, even if you didn’t mean to or plan to.
- Service. This may sound strange, but when we take a position that we will serve those around us, we can build that trust, as others begin to know that you don’t have other plans or agenda’s other than serving the person with whom you are building relationships.
- Reciprocity. Relationships go both ways, you shouldn’t always be the one listening, but you also shouldn’t be the only one speaking. A reciprocal relationship is important for trust.
This text tells us that love is reciprocal. How are you finding reciprocity in your authentic relationships? And how is there reciprocity with God and the relationship you have with the Creator of the Universe?
- Who are your best friends?
- What words would you use to describe your relationship with them?
- How many more of those relationships are you interested in maintaining?
- What makes you trust someone?
- How quickly is trust built?
- What can you do in order to build trust with those around you?
My best friend is my wife but we had not really been honest and open in our communication for sometime, and the tensions were building. out of desperation, I reached into my little education about communication and we sat down and I asked her what was she feeling? I determined not to say a word, while she was speaking, but listened, wrote down what she said and ask her if that was if that was what she said. I waited for her to say yes that’s what I said. It was the hardest thing not to comment or argue with her as she was speaking. After about an hour, she was done. Then I politely asked her if she could do the same thing for me. She at first was hesitant to do the same, but I finally got her to agree. as I was pouring out my frustrations and anger and my pain, and she was reflecting back to me what I said in writing it down it was very liberating like as if I was being born again, liberated from prison, house of anger, fear, resentment, and a deep loneliness of being not heard. It was not easy, but it had great reward. After we got finished with our active listening, she commented that “wow I guess we are equal in our frustration and anger. “ She and I have forgiven and are at peace. I wonder sometimes, if for loneliness is like a lost person in the universe of our minds, because we have as many neurons in there as our stars in the heavens. I reached out to my wife’s universe and her isolation and we made a connection between our two vastly spacious minds, and held each other’s hands in the darkness of our fear, and we found connection and we’re one again.