You’re only as good as the last thing you did right. Or wrong.
Have you ever noticed this to be true?
Do you have people in your life whose opinion of you and attitude towards you seems to change like the wind? If you’ve done something good or helpful, you’re beloved. If you’ve had the nerve to utter an unwelcome comment or not help out when requested, you’re scorned. The change can happen instantly, and it happens a lot.
Back and forth, flip-flopping, like a Ping-Pong ball, never quite sure exactly where you stand or what to expect, always guessing, always on guard, often anxious and worried.
Where are the tried and true friendships? Those which not only stand the test of time, but also the strain of challenges, disagreements, heartache, jealousy, and distance.
Does it seem the staying power of solid, genuine relationships has long since faded? That the ‘conditional love’ mentality is rampant?
I believe so.
What prompts this type of negative behavior? People who:
- Don’t know the love of Jesus. Does this mean that all your friends should be Christians? Absolutely not. But be realistic in your expectations. Non-Believers operate on a different level with a different set of rules.
- Are self-centered and self-absorbed. If they have the ‘me, me, me’ mentality, you’re only as good as the service you provide. Whether it’s over the top affirmations, attention, errands run, gifts bought, or favors extended, your value is based solely on what you do, not who you are.
- Don’t want to hear truth. Some choose to go through life with blinders on, ignoring anything that might cause them to step out of their comfort zone. This may have been precipitated by hurt or trauma from their past. Perhaps they don’t want to make an effort to work at anything, so avoidance is the preferred method. It could be as basic as someone who just doesn’t like hearing the word ‘no’. Whatever the case, the truth you speak in love, even if kind, compassionate, and constructive, could be received as a vicious, ill-intentioned attack.
- Have been recipients of conditional love in their past and have been programmed to believe that this is normal. Have you ever tried to explain something to someone which they have never experienced? This is a near impossible task.
What can you do about it?
- Choose friends and relationships carefully. You can still be blindsided and disappointed, but mathematically speaking, the more careful, selective, and intentional you are, the better chance you have of enjoying healthy relationships.
- Walk in kindness, peace, and love. While this may prove extremely challenging at times, it’s always prudent and beneficial to rise above a difficult circumstance or encounter, than to operate in a defensive mode, reacting abrasively. You may not be able to convince someone with your words, but actions can make a significant impression and impact. You should never tolerate abuse or accept an unhealthy relationship, but behave in a manner which protects your witness and is pleasing to God.
- Rely on God. Recognize that God is the only one who will never hurt, fail, or abandon you. He will always have your best interests at heart and his grace and provision will never disappoint. Focus on the one who matters most and who you can count on forever and ever.