Coffee Date

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Leaning In… when relationships get messy.

What makes a good relationship?
I was having a conversation with someone about what it looks like to have relationships that give life and help you grow into the person that you are and I got to thinking, what does that look like?
The simplest answer I could come up with is that these relationships are the ones you lean into, even and especially in during the uncomfortable moments.
Okay, so what does it look like to lean in?
Growing up, this answer would be VERY different than my answer today.
Leaning in and trusting someone is something that has always been hard for me. It started with me being the Pastor’s son and feeling like I always had to be the “good kid.” I had to be the respectful kid. The one who always bowed to authority and was willing to call someone out when they were living bad lives. What it did was create a dynamic where I was always the “bad guy.” I was the teenager that no one wanted to tell anything to because of the perspective of not wanting to tell the Pastor’s son anything just in case it gets back to the Pastor.
On the flip slide, it was hard to trust people because they treated me like I was someone who’s life was being lived out in the open. So as a 16 year old, I would try to talk to the adults in the room about the things I was struggling with and it would some how get back to my parents.
So when I became an adult and left to college, I had no idea how to lean in, especially when things got messy.
Next week, we are starting a series called “Coffee Date.” For those of you who have been in youth group for a while, you know what this series is. For those of you who are newer to youth group, over the next 3 weeks we are going to be “leaning in” to some of the topics that don’t get talked about enough based on what you guys might be struggling with. In week 2, we are actually going to give you an opportunity to ask questions you may have about anything. From questions about the bible to questions about life and even the uncomfortable questions about what you might be struggling with and they are all going to be anonymous.
Before we do that though, we have to ask ourselves the question why? Why do we have to talk about things that are hard or a little uncomfortable?
In order to lean in, we must first LOVE.
If you have your Bibles, turn to Acts chapter 2
Here is what is not captured in the small section at the end of ACTS though. It wasn’t always easy. As a matter of fact most of the time is was incredibly difficult.
Disagreements on what Jesus is teaching, the way they should live, the relationship between what is cultural appropriate vs what the Bible says, people not liking other people, racism… these aren’t just things that are problems today. They were happening then too. They were happening so frequently that Paul wrote letters to the early church on they should behave themselves.
Regardless of what disagreements were going on, the instruction was to “lean in.”
Leaning in starts with love
Colossians 3:12–14 NIV
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Before we can start to talk about how do you deal with relationships that get messy and what are practical ways we can lean in when things are hard, we have to establish a culture that is a loving one.
When Jesus came to earth, he recruited the disciples who were a bunch of common people with baggage upon baggage. Think of Matthew for instance. He was so bad that the Bible puts what he did for a living on a separate category than a sinner. It lists out sinners then it says tax collectors. Yes Jesus saw him and said, your baggage isn’t big enough to deter me.
Peter was quick to act, which got him into trouble a lot, John was told one time that Jesus loved him and he can’t stop referring to himself as the one who Jesus loved all through the Gospel of John. Paul persecuted Christians with the belief that he was destroying those opposing God without realizing for a long time that those people were doing the work of God.
If we focused on the baggage people bring into relationships, we would never have any friends.
Jesus started with Love and so should we. We love with the same love that Jesus used to die on the cross for us.
In order to lean in, we must first LOVE.
Because if we love first and do out of love, we can learn to call people out.
In order to lean in, we must be willing to share truth.
Loving others doesn’t mean just accepting every ounce about them and saying eh okay you are who you are at were good.
Ephesians 4:25 NIV
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
Sometimes it is easier to ignore truth, even when damaging, than it is to shed light on it.
How many of you feel like you have ever been in a position where calling someone out might damage your relationship with them so you chose to just not say anything?
Even if for a moment there is peace between you two, it never truly goes away until something is said.
God loved us. God loved us so much that he gave Jesus to die for us, regardless of the baggage we have. He paid the price for our sins, but it doesn’t mean our sins go away. The death that follows goes away, but we are still sinners.
A relationship that is one worthy of you leaning in, is a relationship where you are willing to speak truth. Regardless of how hard that truth may be.
This isn’t your free reigns to go and start telling everyone what they are doing wrong not worrying about consequences. Because remember, we start with love.
When I was selling baseball tickets for the aces, we had this method that we would use where you would sell by first talking about all the negatives that came with purchasing season tickets. Its hot in the summer, maybe you won’t use them, who wants to watch AAA baseball… then you would hook em by explaining that all the excuses are there to not by tickets, except for the most important one… you would be creating memories that always outweigh the excuses.
It worked in sales, but this is not how you call someone out in love. Its what we do most of the time though isn’t it? We spend time telling people about all the things that are wrong and then finish by saying, I am just telling you this because I love you… But shouldn’t that be where we start?
If we start with love, it allows us to gently lean in and say “Because of the love I have for you…”
In order to lean in, we must first love.
So what?
so we are leaning in…
Over the next few weeks…….
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