Are you ready to up root our first two weeds of the week?
The Weed – Bad Company
Some plants benefit from having other plants next to them. Alan Titchmarsh goes on about it all the time in his gardening shows. Gardeners do complementary planting all the time.
The fact is that some people are good company and positively enrich our relational world, whilst others are bad company and hinder our relational world. It really matters who you do life with at a whole range of levels. We must never underestimate the impact other people are making on our lives. We do become like the ones we spend the most time with. Before long we hear ourselves using similar language and expressions as them and our preferences become like theirs.
1 Corinthians 15 v 33
“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character”
Proverbs 22 v 24 – 25
“Do not make friends with a hot tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared”
Proverbs 27 v 17
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”
Bad company is a weed that if left unchecked will grow and seriously hinder your relationship development with others.
The Feed – Good Company
Good company is the positive feed, so needs to be encouraged as a form of complementary planting in the garden of your relationships. All relationships have their place. Our challenge is to work hard to ensure the weeds of inappropriate, uninformed or plain bad company do not spring up and choke the healthy development of our primary relationships. Keep your eyes open for people with specific issues that will choke your relationship if not rooted out. Things like:
People who have been wounded by past relationships. If you allow them to pour their hurt out on you as a married person it will begin to affect your attitude to your spouse.
Couples who are angry with each other but want to spend time with you as a couple while they snipe away at each other. Don’t spend time with people who bring strife and confusion into your marriage however essentially “good” you believe them to be.
People damaged by a bad previous church experience, we are negative about spiritual leaders, will spread their contagious disease as they speak. Be careful, therefore, how much you listen.
Keep your eyes open – never be afraid to adjust a peripheral relationship for the sake of the health of a primary one: your relationship with God, your marriage, your family, your church, your business or your friends for life.
Wouldn’t it be good here at Sawyers Church if we got alongside one another and helped each other in our relationships – marriages supporting marriages, parents supporting parents and business partners supporting business partners.
The Weed – Short-sightedness
We live in a culture that says, “It if feels good, do it!” – but which does not necessarily count the cost of doing it. All relationships hit tough times and it is all too easy these days to give up and move on. In our relationships we need to have a plan. What’s more, that plan needs to be “life-size” to adequately do the job.
We are tempted to enter significant relationships based on good feeling, a wave of enthusiasm, an emotional impulse or the promise of personal gain. But it is always domed to fail unless we have a vision for the relationship and a thought-through, considered plan to act as a frame of reference for when problems occur – because they will.
In the soil of every relationship this little weed of shortsightedness can very quickly take root and must be dug out. This little weed gets in early in a relationship and can run rampant.
The Feed – Vision
So what do we do? We ensure that at the start of every relationship we add into its soil the essential feed of vision. Vision is essential if a relationship is to succeed. Do you have a vision for your primary relationships?
Do you have a vision for your family and children that is large enough to carry you all through whatever lies ahead? Is that plan God given? The need for a vision in a relationship becomes apparent when a problem crops up. At that point we are left asking, “What do we do now?” Without a vision we have no idea how to respond in the present; no context, no boundaries and no guiding principles. Without a vision, responses and reactions become short-sighted and short-termist. We resort to quick fixes rather than responding from within the framework of our agreed vision.
As the Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29 v 18). One version says “….are unrestrained” and another says “…stumble all over themselves”.