Monday, January 11, 2010

7 ways to connect with others

Being a loving friend or good neighbor is not always easy. Often times we let our pride, ego, self-centeredness, or lack of caring get in the way of true and meaningful relationships. Fortunately, God teaches us throughout the Bible how to be better friends and connect with our neighbors.

There are 7 characteristics that can help us connect with others;

1. Be thankful. Who are you thankful for? I would like to encourage you to be thankful for not only your friends but also your enemies. When is the last time you prayed for someone you do not particularly care for? Perhaps being truly thankful for that person will also help to strengthen your relationship together. Thankless people often spend their days alone. Tell Jesus you are thankful for Him. It is because of Him that we have a relationship with God.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1Thess. 5:18

2. Be affirming. Catch someone doing something good then praise them. People love to be around positive people. Positive personalities are uplifting, refreshing, and encouraging. On the other hand,  negative people are often times avoided. Praise is particularly important to implement in your own house with your children and your spouse. A positive maternal figure in a home is a beacon of light.

Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24
Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing. Proverbs 12:18

3. Be sincere. To have genuine friends we have to be a genuine friend. Do not pretend to be something you are not. When you are talking to someone genuinely be engaged in the conversation, actively and intently listen to your friend. When your friendship encounters struggles or there are tough times in the lives of your friends, stick around do not run away when times get tough. Stay in the kitchen and help put out the fire, it will make your friendship stronger.

A friend is always loyal and a brother is born to help in time of need. Proverbs 17:17

4. Be happy. Just as you should be genuinely engaged in your friendship or casual conversation be genuinely happy to be around that person. It is more enjoyable to be around someone that is happy and excited to see us then someone who seems to careless about us. Make a concerted effort to find a redeeming quality about everyone you meet, it will make being happy to be with them much easier.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength. Proverbs 17:22

5. Be sharing. Givers strengthen and takers drain. If you want to make God happy then share with others. Give freely and from your heart. Next time a neighbor asks for milk or eggs, give freely and do not expect repayment.

And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord jesus: "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35

6. Be encouraging. Encourage others each and every chance you get. Let your friends know that you are praying for them and lifting them up in their time of need. Ask how you can help your friends and happily follow through with anything they need that you are able to provide. Nobody likes a know-it-all. Do not boast or brag but rather lift up those in need.

You must warn each other every day, while it is still "today", so that non of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. Hebrews 3:13

7. Be spiritual. Share the Gospel with others. A significant connection with others comes from a common commitment to walk with God and share His good news with others.

For I am not ashamed of this Good news about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes - the Jew first and also the Gentile. Romans 1:16

If you are looking for ways to connect with others consider a prayer ministry, missions trip, a greater involvement at your church, or volunteer work in your community. Your options are limitless. Seek your answer in prayer then act upon what God lays upon your heart.

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