It seems there is fresh interest these day from a number of people about Authentic Relationships, , especially the part about how our expectations of others destroy authenticity in those relationships
Here’s a question I got from Chris today:
Here was my response: Wanting people to respond rightly isn’t a problem. Demanding that they do, or treating them with disappointment when they don’t, is the problem. External conformity is never God’s goal anyway, but inner transformation that grows out of their relationship with him.
In that vain, all we have to do is love people! Take an interest in them. Serve them where you can, but never pushing our agenda on them. Servants never push anyway. They always are responding to what others are doing or desiring. I am having so much fun just loving people in their space and time, not thinking I love them by getting them to do what I think is best. It makes relationships so much more real and genuine and takes all the exploitation and manipulation out of it.
I hope that helps. That’s the way Jesus treats you after all. He loves you where you are. He invites you to better things if you’ll come, but he doesn’t badger you at every moment with his expectations or reject you when you disappoint him. Watching him do that with us, is the best tool to learning how to do it with others. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have wonderful desires for us. He does. But he realizes we can only experience them when we freely choose to come, not when we’re manipulated into it.
Another letter I got recently from Aida, might be helpful here as well:
I have now freed that pastor from my expectations that he or that institution should meet my needs. I look to God for that. Most Sundays, I don’t listen to the sermon, since for the most part it’s not very helpful. I may read the Scripture & meditate on it myself or I might pray for him & for other people. I used to feel guilty about that, but now I don’t. The reason I go is to connect with God and if what they are doing isn’t helpful, then it’s okay to do something that is. Now, I leave the service as energized as when I came in because I have remained in God’s presence. I am also seeing a change in my relationship with my husband & my children as I’ve freed them from my expectations.
Thank you so much for the teaching you’ve given me. It has truly been life transforming as I’m learning how to walk in freedom while in an institutional system.