Relate or Influence

” For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” 1 John3:11 ESV

love lead

What do you seek from your relationships? Friendship? Love? Intimacy? Or do you simply use people for your personal agenda?

The older I become the more thankful I am for the friends and family in my world. What I realize now more than ever is that I didn’t go about asking them to change for me nor I for them. Instead, we accept each other as who we are and learn to appreciate each other as God created and gifted us. Whereas in the workplace in those early years, I made the immature mistake of wanting to change others. The focus was on influencing them by whatever means at my disposal. My goal wasn’t to build a mutual, beneficial, unconditional relationship, but to accomplish my agenda for the day.

Isn’t that how many of us relate with others? We either accept them for who they are or we try to influence them to change. That includes our children, parents, siblings, and yes our mates.

The other day I overheard a young woman who was recently married state that she loves her husband but there are a few things she is going to have to change about him if they are going to have a successful marriage. It brought back memories of my early married days when there were certain habits that my wife had (and still has) that I was going to change. Likewise, she would admit that there were many habits that I had (and still have) that she was going to change. Thankfully, we learned early enough that one can’t successfully change the other person from the outside-in. Instead we focused on building up the relationship rather than persuade the other person to our point of view.

Think about your relationships. Is the goal to mutually enjoy the love, friendship and maybe even the intimacy of marriage? Or is the goal to influence the other person to change for your sake?

I am always amazed at how Jesus related with other people. Have you ever noticed that His tenancy was to first relate with people by actually taking the time to love them and respect them for who they were? When verbally attacked, he would defend himself with the appropriate answer. The only time he emotionally exploded was in the temple with the money changers and again with the self-righteous religious leaders who constantly tried to trap him (even then it could be debated that he was practicing tough love techniques). Otherwise, he spent his time solving people’s problems. He healed them. He ate with them. He partied with them. And as a rabbi, he taught them.

His primary focus was to first love the people wherever he went. His influence came later through the people who he invested time with during his 3 1/2 year ministry. His influence was a byproduct of his relationship. He loved first; and then let his love be the influence that transformed lives in and through others. Isn’t that a good plan for all of us to follow?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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