Gary Thomas on how the story of Lazarus informs us in how we should approach our friendships and various relationships. Specifically, Thomas talks about the importance of prioritizing a loved one’s interests above said loved one’s opinion of you:
The mistakes in our human friendships are usually due to the fact that we give too generously what is useless to our friend [easy displays of affection], and are too [stingy] in giving the more costly gifts, which are essential to his welfare [reining in our feelings until we know we can back them up].… At the back of all appearances lies the truth that the measure of love is its costliness. To analyze one’s feelings is the worst way of arriving at a measure of friendship; to count its cost is the best way.
To analyze one’s feelings is the worst way of arriving at a measure of friendship; to count its cost is the best way. And yet isn’t that what many of us do, spend endless hours trying to figure out what we’re really feeling? Jesus lived and taught that friendship and love are marked by sacrifice: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
Feeling romantically inclined toward someone, but not mentioning it because you know doing so would be premature and unwise, is one of the most loving and difficult things you will ever be asked to do. It is difficult to feel so strongly and not talk about it with the one you’re infatuated with. And it is so delicious to hear that the feelings are returned. But giving free rein to such emotion and conversation is the opposite of love; it is selfish. It threatens that person’s emotional and spiritual health. It shows a lack of concern, a lack of care, a total lack of the willingness to sacrifice on which true love is based.
Displays of public affection, verbal commitments that are born out of sheer emotion, and false promises based on temporary emotions are the “useless” gifts that Ward says we can be so generous with. But then we’re too stingy with the costly gifts essential for the other person’s well-being: We don’t consider their welfare before we pronounce our commitment or affection; we don’t consider whether our displays of affection will be healthy for them or cause possible confusion and later hurt. Are you learning to deny your selfish desires and put the other person’s spiritual welfare ahead of your own emotional and physical lusts?
Rick Thomas with a practical look at Ephesians 5 and marriage:
Just as there is a warm list, there is also a chill list. If a man is not warming his wife, then he is cooling the marriage by his general attitude and behaviors toward his wife. There is no neutrality in any marriage.
Chris Brauns with a (incomplete) list of problems when it comes to unconditional forgiveness.
Peter Bregman on making and daily reviewing two lists (“Your Focus List” & “Your Ignore List”) so as to maximize and prioritize your time:
The world is moving fast and it’s only getting faster. So much technology. So much information. So much to understand, to think about, to react to. A friend of mine recently took a new job as the head of learning and development at a mid-sized investment bank. When she came to work her first day on the job she turned on her computer, logged in with the password they had given her, and found 385 messages already waiting for her.
So we try to speed up to match the pace of the action around us. We stay up until 3 am trying to answer all our emails. We twitter, we facebook, and we link-in. We scan news websites wanting to make sure we stay up to date on the latest updates. And we salivate each time we hear the beep or vibration of a new text message.
But that’s a mistake. The speed with which information hurtles towards us is unavoidable (and it’s getting worse). But trying to catch it all is counterproductive. The faster the waves come, the more deliberately we need to navigate. Otherwise we’ll get tossed around like so many particles of sand, scattered to oblivion. Never before has it been so important to be grounded and intentional and to know what’s important.
“The boys all identify as Turnikmen – street athletes who perform strength exercises of varying complexity in an outdoor setting. They combine acrobatics and gymnastics using a conventional horizontal bar. Some of the things that they do here look dangerous to say the least but it is done with such swagger and confidence that it makes you hold your breath but still believe in their ability to pull off yet another spectacular move. They did, however, have to learn how to perform these amazing moves. I suspect their mother’s probably live in constant fear and expectation of another trip to the local hospital!”