Want an unhealthy relationship?
1) Never apologize when you judge them (even in your heart).
2) Criticize everything they do.
3) Talk about them behind their back. This is especially awesome. One negative + another negative = worse!
4) Never ask for forgiveness when you mess up.
5) Ignore the harsh words you spoke and let them fester in their hearts forever.
Maybe you are asking, “Why aren’t these okay? They’ve worked for me in the past.”
Maybe they have worked, but they are friendship, intimacy, and marriage stealers! The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. It’s time to recognize the enemy working through us and say, “Get behind me!”
1) “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7 NKJV). See, you don’t even want to have judgmental thoughts in your heart because they will eventually come out of your mouth or eat you on the inside.
2) Over time, criticizing every single thing someone does will make their ears grow deaf to your voice. They won’t seek you for encouragement because they know the kick in the face will follow. Want intimacy? Try shutting your face and speaking life into someone.
3) If you open your mouth to slander another person and the person jumps in and agrees with you, it only makes it worse. Just don’t. Take your ugly thoughts to God so you don’t site the pot.
4) Always apologize. Make it right. I have a friend who is asking each of her friends, “Do you have any offense or bitterness towards me?” She’s doing everything she can to fight for peace in the relationships that she values.
5) Harsh words cut. They leave wounds and scars, places where bitter infection can breed depression, offense, or even hatred. Don’t pretend you didn’t speak those ugly things. Decide in your heart if you meant them and why. What’s wrong with you that you feel that way? We need to do a heart check. Were you striking out because you were angry? Is it a defense mechanism? Is it how you really feel? Regardless, you need to know the source. You will eat the fruit of your own words. Think about the person you hurt in your emotional outburst and how much you value them. Consider what you are thankful for, and it will give you perspective. Suddenly, you will realize the thing you were actually frustrated about is very small.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words will never hurt me. This isn’t true: “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21 NIV). Even ugly words spoken out of your own mouth will be words that you will eat. You reap what you sow.
Some people never apologize. They ignore or justify their sin—their judging, their critical spirit, their unkind words—sweeping it under the rug and acting like everything’s cool.
Apologizing, reconciling, and working things out, even though it’s harder, in the end actually makes relationships stronger. Sweeping it under the rug and ignoring it will always leave a little infection for a later, much larger blow out.
Ask for forgiveness, and also forgive people when they offend you. If you have trouble forgiving other people, keep in mind how much God has forgiven you:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
— 1 John 1:9 (NIV)