4 Relational habits I DON’T want to develop

Relational habitsYou’ve got your pet peeves.  I’ve got mine.  For some reason lately, people’s relational habits have been hitting my “pet peeve” radar screen pretty hard.

I’m trying to handle it the right way… Instead of being irritated, I’m trying to ask the Spirit of God to help me assess myself in light of the “errors” that I see. Instead of being overly critical, I’m trying to allow the Spirit to produce His fruit of love in me for the people in question, regardless of their “habit.” (Romans 15:1)

Nevertheless… here are 4 Relational habits I DON’T want to develop:

1. Responding to someone’s story with my own similar story.

I think we do this out of a desire to want to relate to the other person. That’s good… for as far as it goes. But the truth is this: I don’t care how much the person can relate to me if I don’t think they care about what I’m saying. When they jump right in on the heels of my comments with their own similar story (especially if it’s a bigger “whopper” than mine), it tells me they don’t really care about what I was trying to communicate.

LORD Jesus, help me not to be this person!

2. Neglecting to inquire about other people’s lives and needs.

Is the best I can do at loving my brother/sister to talk, talk, talk and not really show interest in them? Am I really that egotistical and uncaring about them? Sure, there are important things going on in my life, and I’d like to (and need to) be able to share them.  But if I’m in the conversation only to get my needs met, I’m not looking much like Jesus at all, am I?

LORD Jesus, help me not to be this person!

3. Sucking the life out of people through incessant stories about my life and needs.

This is a twin to the previous one.  Like a bad science-fiction movie, there are “life-suckers” out there… people who slime you with their verbal vomit of bad experiences, tragedies, health problems, etc. – non-stop… and suck the life right out of you. I try to love these people by listening, sympathizing, praying with them, etc… and I think I do a pretty good job at it. But when they finally leave, I find myself completely drained… not filled up at all.

LORD Jesus, help me not to be this person!

4. Being known for having a “scolding tone.” (a bit more than half way down on the link)

Critical thinking is a good thing.  It’s part of how we go about taking every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). But when our tone is continually critical, constantly in evaluation-mode, we can come across a bit scolding toward others. It’s like nobody ever meets our standards (some of you had parents like that, huh?). It’s good to seek after holiness, but not at the expense of our brothers and sisters in Christ. (1 Corinthians 8:11-13).

LORD Jesus, help me not to be this person!

What relational habits to YOU NOT want to develop?


2 thoughts on “4 Relational habits I DON’T want to develop

  1. Man, I’m guilty of the first. Let me tell you a story about that… (just kidding).
    I think it really just stems from wanting to have a discussion and a conversation. I don’t feel that my motives are incredibly selfish, just perhaps not implemented in the most refined way. This is something I want to work on!

    • You are such a funny guy Loren! That reminds me of…

      I guess when I say that it seems “selfish” it might be better to say “inconsiderate.” Am I thinking of the other person most, or am I thinking about me most?

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