I’ve been thinking recently about relationships. About how they begin, how they grow. When you think about it, all relationships, no matter how close, begin with common ground. In the most basic sense, you have common ground with every person you meet, if for no other reason than that you at one point occupied similar space.
When it comes to building relationships though, slightly more common ground is needed. As we grow up, we make friends through shared experiences. Shared classes. Shared sports victories or crushing defeats. Common friends. And the list goes on.
As we create new relationships in adulthood, it becomes more difficult. We have to work a little harder to find the common ground through similar interests, common life experiences, common beliefs.
Building on our friends-making skills learned in school is how we grow to become adults that can create and maintain true friendships. True friendships in adulthood look different from those in childhood.
As kids, we are friends for as long as someone can do something for us. As adults, we invest more time and effort in cultivating our closest relationships. For most people, these relationships are seen in their spouses, although that is not the only time we see people giving of themselves for others. This is the love of Christ manifest in our daily lives, and it is through this manifestation that we serve others and lead the lost to Christ.
LOVE IS THE WAY
So what’s the point of all this? The reason I bring this up is as a way to evaluate how we go about sharing Christ with the people we meet every day. With relationships we’ve cultivated over years it may be easier to bring Christ into the mix because you can see where someone is in the context of who they used to be. With newer relationships, it is harder because you don’t have that context.
Instead of diving in head first though, I would challenge you to do two things.
- Find COMMON GROUND. The only way that someone can hear a gospel message truly is if you are on similar footing. Find areas in which you can agree, and build from there. It is much easier to build on a foundation that’s already been laid, so we must trust that God will lay the foundation where we are meant to build.
- Speak truth in LOVE. When you do find the foundation that God has laid for you to build on, make sure not to destroy it with harsh words. Obviously I’m not saying to sugar coat facts, but the way in which Truth is presented and go very far when it comes to how it is received. Since we are to be a part of growing the kingdom, we have to be intentional to nurture those that we are disciplining into the very presence of God.
In the end, the best way to accomplish this is to imitate the one who is the very embodiment of love. So by growing closer to Christ, we will be able to more fully express His love to those we want to usher into the Kingdom.
Soli Deo Gloria