Smokey the Bear

Dramatic, yes. Drama, no.

Yesterday we discussed the makings of authentic community, so I thought it might be prudent to talk about the ways that we can keep the drama at bay. Say it with me…

Only you can prevent relationship drama. (Did you hear Smokey the Bear saying it? That’s how I hear it in my head.)

Relationships are imperfect because the people involved are imperfect. And while we cannot control the behavior of others,(wouldn’t that be lovely?!) we DO get to choose our responses and reactions. Let’s tackle the drama…

1. Ditch the unrealistic expectations.

-People will disappoint us.
-When someone fails you, don’t be stunned.
-The people closest to us have the greatest ability to hurt us.
-When a person does let us down, it is usually not intentional.
-Two options: Cover an offense with love or Confront in love.

Most hurts are not a reflection of the person’s dislike for us, but rather a reflection of a hardship in the person’s life or a character flaw. For the forgetful friend I could text “Are we still on for this afternoon?” rather than demanding something she cannot give.

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” Proverbs 27:5 and “Wounds from a friend can be trusted.” (Proverbs 27:6)

2. Run from gossip.

This should go without saying, right? Even if the world says that this is one vice worth indulging in, the Word says otherwise.

“Don’t spread gossip and rumors. “Don’t just stand by when your neighbor’s life is in danger. I am GOD.” (Leviticus 19:16, MSG)

“Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly?” (Proverbs 18:8, MSG)

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

“When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day. Do not give the devil away to defeat you.” (Ephesians 4:26, NCV)

And while we are at it, how about: But in your anger, do not post on facebook. Let’s avoid airing thinly veiled shock on social media. “Sarah cannot believe how careless some people can be.” Don’t hate. Communicate. WITH that person.

3. Abandon grudges.

“Forgive the things you are holding against one another. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13b (NIrV)

“Relationships don’t thrive because the guilty are punished but because the innocent are merciful.” – Max Lucado

Don’t simmer. Be a communication winner. Bitterness destroys people. Give grace. Just because someone doesn’t act or respond in the way I think they should doesn’t mean they don’t love or care about me.

Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.” (Proverbs 10:12, NLT)

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32, NIV)

4. Make peace with rejection.

FRIENDSHIPS are seasonal. People come in and out of our lives for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes you just have to bounce the ball and see if they bounce it back.

If you truly believe this:“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28, NLT) …then you see rejection as the reset button.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3, NIV)

“The dynamics of a relationship can feel like a ‘source of life’ – Then, when that person withdraws slightly, it feels like death. But instead, this is bondage. Only Jesus is our source of life…” The Friendships of Women – by Dee Brestin

5. Add relationships that bring life.

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NLT)

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17, NIrV)

Ever tried to cut with a dull knife? Frustrating! Properly sharpened knives take that which was dull & ineffective and makes it highly functioning and highly effective! Tomorrow we will talk at length about cultivating friendships that keep us sharpened!

Until then, say it with me: PROUD TO BE, DRAMA FREE.