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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Giving and Receiving in Relationships

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Have you ever thought about the fact that there are some people – some friends in your life that you treat nicer than they do you? Does that bother you? Does that make you want to complain or abandon the relationship? Sometimes people get so focused and bent on fairness, that they throw away or destroy good relationships though they may have not been perfect or fair in reciprocated love.

To be perfectly honest, my life is filled with the effort of trying to do good and help people. My mother was that way and it somehow got in my blood because it’s how I’m bent. But, it does not mean I am completely selfless. I would love to be but know that I’m far from it. I have my selfish hot spots I need to work on.

I find myself doing things for people all the time. In all reality, seldom do I seem to get back from people what I've put out for and done for them. Maybe that’s because I work more with men and men aren't like women in finding ways to show appreciation. Of course there are always some people that are very good at taking the time to write a thank you note or send off an email of thanks or show some form of appreciation. It’s wonderful when people do take note of what you've done for them and thank you in some form.

But, what about those close relationships you have where it seems like you are doing most of the giving and it’s very one-sided? Well, first of all, that might just be your perspective and it might not be true. They might be adding things to your life in ways you don’t notice. Or, maybe it is true. Maybe they are great at receiving from you but don’t give much back. Then what? Does that mean you should dump the relationship?

Our lives could be and I hope are filled with a diversity of good relationships. In them, you will find great disparity on the amount of kindness, niceness, and love that people return back to you. But if you’ll do a self-examination, you might find some relationships that you receive more from and give less to. Or you may just realize that God’s has graced you with more of a giving personality than most, and that the imbalance of you giving more than others return back to you is always going to be a part of your life.

People shouldn't stay in relationships where someone takes and takes and takes without giving back until they're completely drained. That is unless it’s a special assignment from God that He has given you grace for. Special needs people are a good example of that.

But, for the rest, it’s a living reality that many people will not give as much back to you in acts of kindness or thanks. Most if not all of us are still maturing and growing in this area. But, maybe they add to your life in other ways. Maybe they add other things to your life that make you value the relationship like making you laugh or sharing great wisdom. Don’t blow off the relationship because it’s not perfectly fair in the reciprocation of love. Most relationships seldom are perfect or perfectly fair. But they do bring value to your life and they are worth having.

For me, I apply the same principle in my relationships that I was taught by the Lord to bring into the workplace. I apply Col. 3:23 "Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." I have cast aside the mentality and attitudes of doing things for others expecting thanks or reciprocation back. I have put aside looking for perfect friends who always reciprocate love and kindness. Instead I purpose to do what has been my God-given motto for most of my Christian walk. No matter what anyone else does, just do what’s right. I try to love others “as unto the Lord.” If I don’t get some of that back, it’s okay because I know that I also have failed giving it to others equally and have failed giving it back to the Lord like I should. I also try to remember the good I value and receive from my imperfect friends and pray they see and value things from this very imperfect guy.

And here is what really levels the playing field. When we weren't even thinking about God, He still sent Jesus to be punished and die for our sins. Romans 5:8 (NLT) says, "But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." We never return the kind of love that God showed and shows us today, yet He keeps on love us! So, keep on loving others with His love! He sees it. He knows. And there is great blessing from the Lord that comes from this kind of heart! And one last thought! Thank you Lord for all the men and women in the military and public service that make sacrifices and put their life on the line for our freedom and peace. I am sure we never thank you all to the degree we should! But we are thankful! God bless you!

John 15:13 (NLT) "There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends" 

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt 

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