Being a Christian doesn’t’ guarantee that we will have a healthy relationship, even with another Christian. Why?
I lived in the fantasy and deception that all Christians were good, loving, and healthy over forty years of my life. Living in these illusions led me into three abusive marriages to “Christian” men. So, how do we get so confused in our relationships?
3 Reasons Why
- We each have our own definitions of love, Christianity, and relationships. Each of these is formed throughout our life from our experiences, the messages we hear, and our beliefs. The problem with all of our original definitions is the fact that they are imperfect and broken because we don’t know God’s word or Christ’s exceptional love design from our beginning.
- We each enter a relationship in our own reality of definitions and beliefs while we subconsciously believe the other person shares our reality. We assume our definition of love, which can be kind and gentle, is shared by the person in our relationship. However, the other person’s definition of love may include being able to blow up at the other person and be disrespectful, as long as they apologize.
- We will only do what we know. Until we commit to living in a progressive personal relationship with Jesus every day, we can’t change what we know. Getting to know Jesus requires you to spend time with him in prayer, by praising him in song, and by studying God’s word. All of these things help you know the heart, characteristics, and love design of Christ that his disciples are instructed to follow.
When we are a disciple of Jesus, we have his discernment inside of us. It is our responsibility to learn how to exercise and strengthen it to recognize the healthy and unhealthy people in our lives. We are instructed to be wise and to guard our hearts. Choosing to be in a close relationship with anyone is a gift of your heart, trust, and love.
Although Jesus had 12 disciples, he was the closest to Peter, James, and John. God designed us to have a few close and intimate relationships throughout our lives. It is vital for us to recognize when a relationship is becoming unhealthy, toxic, or abusive. We will continue to feel frustrated as Christians and living in unhealthy and hurtful relationships if we keep using our broken love design.
Learn Something New and Do Something Different
If you are like me, and you never learned about healthy relationships, or you didn’t have healthy role models, there’s no way for you to discern unhealthy manipulation camouflaged in compliments, gifts, or continual time with the person. Because I longed to be loved by someone who also loved Jesus, I rationalized, justified, and excused disrespectful words and behaviors to keep the relationship. I thought my “sacrifice” was what a “good Christian” must do. My mindset made me the perfect victim for the abusive men I married.
If we experience disrespect, dishonor, or signs of abuse, we must evaluate our relationship with God’s truth. When you notice something in a person or within your relationship that raises a question or warning from the Holy Spirit, write it down and keep it to yourself. When you are alone with Jesus, study God’s word concerning your questions. Also, seek counsel from a Christian counselor who is trained in domestic abuse.
Christ-followers or Christians are instructed to become Christ-like. We are to use his words and actions and to have his attitude of respectful and honoring love. No one knows the heart of a person except God and Jesus. However, we can see if they are walking hand-in-hand with Jesus by the words, actions, and attitudes they share with us and others.
Look BEFORE You Leap
Be wise and take your time to see how people are BEFORE you begin a deep relationship with them. Just because they proclaim to be a Christian doesn’t mean they are using Christ’s definition, which is being his active disciple and apprentice. Make sure that you are being his disciple and have someone to hold you accountable to keep you growing to be more like Jesus.
Your heart is the most precious gift you have to share, so be careful who you give it to. Don’t buy the lie that “good Christians” are supposed to accept being disrespected, dishonored, and abused even by family members. Jesus never allowed himself to be abused before the cross, and he is our example.
Christ’s love is fully viewed in the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Look for someone who has an abundant balance of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. No one is perfect, including you. However, Jesus has some amazing healthy relationships for you, so follow his example.
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