Have you ever been involved in a friendship where things got messy?
At Generations Church we always say in order to have authentic relationship we have to lean into the mess. That means that we have to be honest, we have to be willing to work through conflict, hurt feelings and disappointment. Our human nature is to pull back, to leave, and to run away when things get difficult.
Have you ever noticed when a child gets hurt by their sibling or a friend, their common response is, “they did it on purpose!” And as hurt as they may be, there is another layer of hurt that goes even deeper, when they’ve decided what the other child’s intentions were. When my kids were little, I often had to coach them through that scenario and remind them that they could be hurt, but they weren’t allowed to decide if someone hurt them on purpose.
As adults, especially women, we need to be careful that we are not judging someone else’s intentions. Contrary to popular belief, the Bible does teach us that as Christians we can and should judge each other’s fruit (someones actions), but it is not our place to judge someone’s motives. Only God can judge a person’s heart. (Side note: let’s just clarify that if you are in relationship with a person whose actions reveal bad fruit; such as mistreating you or others, certain boundaries may need to be set in place.)
Unfortunately, like our kids, we can quickly shift to judging someone’s motive. We naturally filter our interactions through our own insecurities, resulting in us making assumptions about other people. We can end up in the place where we decide someone had negative intentions and motives toward us, and we make our own conclusions like, “they’re mad at me”, or “they just simply don’t like me”. Maybe it sneaks in when a text to a friend goes unanswered, an invitation wasn’t extended to you, or a friend doesn’t reach out when you think they should.
I encourage you to remind yourself that it’s not our job to decide whether or not someone “did it on purpose”. Make a shift to assume the best of someone. Lean in when it’s messy, and address the concerns that surface in your relationship.
When we lean in to messy conversations and stop judging a person’s motivation, we will find we’re on the right road to developing deep and lasting friendship.