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Key 1: Identify and Accept the Reality of Your Relationships | Nine Keys to Healthy Relationships

How would describe the health of your relationships? 

Be honest, because it’s crucial for your life. Friend, you cannot conquer what you don’t confront, and you cannot confront what you don’t identify. Many people live in denial or repression. They continually say, “Everything is okay. It’s okay. We get along wonderful.” But it’s not okay.

Many of us in the church are master hypocrites—the ones who wear the theatrical masks and say, “Praise the Lord! God bless you!” and pretend to love one another. We fight like cats and dogs driving to church, then slip into our prayer robes and act as though we’re going to get power from God. We’re not going to get power from God by slipping into something we don’t wear all the time, because God is never fooled.

God is saying, “Listen up. Stop being hypocritical, and let’s deal with it.” To relinquish the unhealthy, you have to admit to yourself when something is not functioning. If you are presently involved in relationships that prey on your heart and rob you of control over your life, it’s time to make a change. Trust God to help you recognize when a relationship is becoming detrimental to you, to your ministry, or to the health of your family life.
There are four types of relationships in your life—those that add, those that subtract, those that multiply, and those that divide.  

And so when something becomes divisive, or when something is subtracting, you have to look at the reality of that relationship and say, “It’s not working,” which means one of three things.

Number one, that relationship was only for season. Like those rocket boosters that lift you into the first atmosphere, they must fall off if you’re going to make it to the next level. You keep trying to hold on to the relationship, but God is saying, “It’s time for that relationship to fall off. I’m trying to get you to the next stratosphere, but if you try to hang on to those boosters, they will actually pull you back down and destroy you.” Some relationships are there for a season, but if you hold on past their longevity, what was once delightful will become destructive.

Number two, that relationship is one that God says you have to leave because the person will hold you to an old mentality and lifestyle. We saw this clearly in the call of Abraham. God told him to leave his country, his family, and his father’s house and go to a land that He would show him (Genesis 12:1). Some people will hold you to your past, so you have to leave. They will subtract and divide your life. You have to be real with yourself and the relationship and ask, “What do I do to move ahead to the place that God has for me?”

First Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’ ” You become a product of what you are around. And if you continue to hold on to a relationship that is no longer a part of God’s plan, then you will never fulfill the purpose that God has for you. You are trying to rehabilitate something that God is finished with. You cannot revive something that God says is not going to work.

Number three, if you think you’re going to be able to change that person and take them with you, you are deceiving yourself. You are lying to yourself. People change, but not much. The Bible says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil” (Jeremiah 13:23). The only way someone can change is through the Word of God that sanctifies and washes them, and you cannot force-feed the Word if they’re not hungry. All you can do is pray that God will get them in a place where they are starving for the Word, because the Word will transform them.

If you want to change your way of living, you’ve got to change your way of thinking. But until you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, you’re not going to change your way of thinking. And so, you can never change somebody else. You have to accept that person for who they are and recognize who they are. Nevertheless, I find singles thinking that if they just get married, they can change their partner. To that I say, “The devil is a liar.” You’re not going to change anybody. For the new season in your life, God might not want you to be in a relationship with them.
Here’s a principle we need to grasp: unconditional love and compassion is accepting a person for exactly who they are and recognizing that God is doing the work in their life. 
We have to be ready to pay the price for allowing God to work in their life in His way. Perhaps you feel God has used you in the past to help change someone, but you sense it was for a season. Releasing someone does not mean they will not get better. It means God is better suited for the job than you are. And bringing closure does not mean it’s final. It means you are giving them over to God.

Adapted from Paula White-Cain's best selling book "I Don't Get Wholeness...That's the Problem!"
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