PRUNING FRIENDSHIPS (taking out the trash)

resinHere’s a topic that rears its head and usually elicits an “ewww” from me.

Yep, it means cutting away the people who suck the life out of you.  I have a huge problem with this regardless of the fact that many ministries have large teachings on it designed to help you know when and whom you should perform this surgery upon and thereby rid your life of them.

My problem is that it doesn’t sound like Christ.  It doesn’t look like His Love and the spirit of it promotes self over others.  When I look at Jesus, I see His reaction to the worst people as quite different.

He doesn’t prune them away but rather He shows them righteous boundaries and lets them decide whether they want to leave or change.

The largest group He performed this act upon was the religious ones.  He was blunt, straight-forward and sometimes insultingly truthful (i.e. “whitewashed sepulchers”).  But rather than reject them and refuse to interact with them, He tells them the truth about their actions and lets them chose how to respond to that truth.

Here’s the problem with reading about these instances in the Bible.  We can’t hear the tone of His voice or the inflection of it.  Here is the Prince of Peace sounding mean?  I wonder.

You know what it’s like to read a text that seems mean and harsh but later you confront the person and their tone changes the whole context?  Well, I’m that person and it happens to me quite often.  My tone is peaceful and loving, but my words are blunt and to-the-point.  So, I have to be very careful with texts and emails or I sound like an angry, mean person when I’m not.

I wonder sometimes if Jesus hasn’t been misinterpreted this same way.  Heck, I could even turn over the money-changers tables with a whip and a smile in my voice.

Now, granted, I may be completely off base here.  This is a spur-of-the-moment revelation I’m rolling out for your consideration.

What if Jesus was trying to make them see the error of their ways and hoping that His words would change some hearts?  I believe He had some follows who were members of the Sanhedrin.  Therefore, even though their associates took offence, they did not.  They saw Truth and embraced it.

How effective is Truth when presented in anger?  Not usually at all.  Those who hear Truth will reject the speaker for any ugly tone of voice.  I’m the same way.  I love to hear the Truth about myself.  It helps me make corrections and assists me in giant leaps forward.  But I will walk out of the room if it is presented in an angry, arrogant or judgmental way because that is not the way my Heavenly Father corrects me.  He is my most thorough examiner, but at the same time, He is the most loving. I believe that is the spirit that Jesus carried.  Not the mean, angry, red-faced maniac we’ve seen in pictures.

Therefore I believe Jesus spoke Truthfully to the Sadducees and Pharisees in a blunt, to-the-point fashion, but in a tone of appeal, love, entreaty.  I don’t believe He ever said because someone was evil or a massive sinner He would cut them out of His presence and walk away.  But rather He let them make that choice themselves based on their acceptance or rejection of Truth.  It was their choice.

(Don’t pull up the tares lest you also pull up wheat; but let them grow together.)

I see a prevalent attitude of rejection based on personal, selfish judgment running rampant.  It says “you bug me, you’re negative, annoying, needy, irritating, frustrating, pushy, bossy, unmannerly and I just don’t like your attitude so you’re out.  I’m cutting you from my list of people”.  Then we proceed to cut people out of our lives like they are just so much trash we set on the curb for pick-up.

People are not trash.  None of them.  And usually if they are in my life it’s because I need to learn something from them, or help them learn something from my experience.  Therefore they are a responsibility my Father has given me.

No I can’t change people.  Neither can you.  But Father can and with Jesus and the Holy Spirit living inside us, there is nothing He can’t do.  This is not a situation of venting my frustrations and dumping my emotions on them.  This is a situation of hearing His voice and speaking what He says to speak.

This is not a disposable humanity.  Every person created was a shining jewel in the eyes of Father.  We must mature into the loving Christ that lives within us.  It only comes from Him.

And that’s my 2 cents for the morning offered to you in love (and some hugs) 😀