Authentic relationship with others is a key to a lifestyle of freedom. This lifestyle includes honesty and vulnerability. Close, healthy relationship involves knowing someone and being known by them – loving and being loved. Some describe intimacy as “in-to-me-see.”
To experience levels of friendship and intimacy, the assurance that the other person is a “safe” person is critical. We also don’t experience depth of relationship overnight. It comes out of the journey that starts as an acquaintance, becomes a friendship, and then proceeds as mutual trust and honesty are deepened. A good visual for this is again the funnel of relationships that I have created:
[tweet_dis]What determines a safe person?[/tweet_dis] What does a safe relationship look like? Books have been written on this topic! If you have questions and concerns that are more in depth than this text, I recommend the book “Safe People” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend[i]. My short answer below includes some of the ideas presented in their book. A safe person is:
[tweet_dis]Some results of a safe relationship are:[/tweet_dis]
The above descriptions give some important guidelines for safe people and safe relationships. It is wise to have guidelines. Not every relationship will have the same degree of trust and openness. There will be those with whom you can be honest. Those will be the developed and proven “safe” relationships. Wisdom tells us that there will be times that we are not to open our lives to everyone and in every situation.
Choose your relationships wisely. We are to be a friend to many and to non-believers in Christ as well as to other believers. However, we need to choose carefully those with whom we are deeply connected. The Word of God says we need relationships. Yet is it also clear on being wise in our choosing of close friends. In fact in Matthew 7:6 it tells us not to “throw your pearls to pigs” which is an analogy for taking what is precious to you and putting it before someone who will not understand or value it.
We are meant to be honest, truthful, and wise. Masks, pretense, hypocrisy, and dishonesty are never a part of God’s plan. Wisdom means that you carefully choose what is to be shared in each situation. It is not necessary to arbitrarily tell every single detail of your personal life to a crowd of people, or even to an individual. Unless God is prompting you to share some very personal details, that would be unwise. Yet it is God’s plan for you to have a few safe and trustworthy people in your life with whom you can share those details.
So with the above cautions in mind, I urge you to ask the Lord to bring safe people into your life and for Him to help you develop healthy and satisfying relationships. Also, ask Him to give you His wisdom (James 1:5-6), and to make you to be a safe person for others.
Action Steps: Consider these questions:
Scripture: Proverbs 18:24 “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (NIV)
A Prayer: Dear God, I thank you for the safe relationships I do have in my life. I am grateful. I ask you to continually help me to recognize who are the safe people in my life. I desire healthy relationships, but I also desire to be wise in my relationships. Please guide me on this journey to healthy, close relationships. I thank You that You are always faithful and do answer my prayers. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
(I encourage you to talk to Him in your own words. Share your heart with Him. He loves you and desires to hear what is in your heart and on your mind.)
[i] Cloud, H., & Townsend, J. (1995). Safe People. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.