Summary: Based on The DNA of Relationships by Dr. Gary Smalley. When a relationship doesn’t feel safe, walls go up for protection. We need to learn to respect and honor the walls. Through unconditional love, those walls will come down.
HOW TO CREATE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT
The DNA of Relationships (4)
A. Today is the fourth lesson in our series on The DNA of Relationships based on the book by Dr. Gary
Smalley. Today’s lesson is entitled: How To Create a Safe Environment.
A man and his wife who had been married for 45 years went on VACATION to Jerusalem. While they were there, the HUSBAND suddenly passed away with a HEART ATTACK. The FUNERAL DIRECTOR told the wife, “You can have your husband shipped HOME for $5,000, or you can BURY him here, in the Holy Land, for $150.” The woman thought about it and told him she would just have him SHIPPED home.
The funeral director asked, “Why would you spend $5,000 to ship your husband HOME, when it would be wonderful to be BURIED here in the Holy Land and you would spend only $150?”
The woman replied, “Long ago a man DIED here, was BURIED here, and three days later He ROSE from the dead. . . . I JUST CAN’T TAKE THAT CHANCE.”
I may be wrong, but something tells me that that HOUSEHOLD wasn’t a very PEACEFUL and SAFE ENVIRONMENT.
B. We closed with this PASSAGE last week: I John 4:18a- “There is no fear in love. But perfect love
drives out fear…”
1. This is the kind of LOVE that we are to STRIVE to develop in our LIVES and in our RELATIONSHIPS.
John said, “Perfect love drives out fear.” If we demonstrate a MATURE LOVE towards others in our closest relationships, then they will have no reason to FEAR—they will feel SAFE.
2. The apostle Paul describes TRUE LOVE in I Corinthians 13: 4-8a (READ and COMMENT)
Can’t you see if we DEMONSTRATE this kind of LOVE toward our HUSBAND or WIFE, PARENTS or CHILDREN, FRIENDS and NEIGHBORS, CO-WORKERS or CLASSMATES, FELLOW-CHRISTIANS, how these RELATIONSHIPS can GROW and FLOURISH in a SAFE ENVIRONMENT?
C. According to Dr. Gary Smalley, “Safety is when you feel free to open up and reveal who you really are and know that the other person will still love, accept, and value you—no matter what.”
1. This is the way our RELATIONSHIPS should be, but they’re often not that way.
2. We haven’t always made it SAFE for the other person in our RELATIONSHIP, and it hasn’t always been SAFE for us.
When it’s not SAFE in our RELATIONSHIPS we build WALLS of SAFETY to PROTECT us. And these WALLS manifest themselves in different ways: we SHUT DOWN, we DISTANCE ourselves, we ENGAGE in only CASUAL CONVERSATION—no DEEP COMMUNICATION, we LEAVE and TERMINATE the RELATIONSHIP.
D. What can we do to CREATE a SAFE ENVIRONMENT?
I. RESPECT THE WALLS
A. This a tough one, especially for MEN, because we want to FIX THINGS!
1. When a RELATIONAL WALL goes up between us and our WIFE, our CHILDREN, a CO-WORKER, we want that WALL to COME DOWN now!!!
So what do we do? We grab a SLEDGEHAMMER and start POUNDING on that WALL trying our best to BREAK it DOWN. We don’t realize it, but all that does is cause the other person to BUILD UP more layers of RESISTANCE.
2. WALLS are always BUILT by people who feel THREATENED.
Behind every WALL we find a person who feels UNSAFE. Usually that person doesn’t want to stay CLOSED and DEFENDED, but because the ENVIRONMENT feels UNSAFE, he or she BUILDS the WALL for PROTECTION and SELF-PRESERVATION.
3. You may know people who ERECT these kinds of WALLS.
It may have been someone who has been PHYSICALLY or SEXUALLY ABUSED at some point and have a general DISTRUST toward everyone.
It may be a HUSBAND or WIFE shutting down emotionally because his or her SPOUSE was UNFAITHFUL.
It may be a TEENAGER who LOCKS him or herself up in their ROOM trying to AVOID the constant CRITICISM from his or her PARENTS.
It may be a CHRISTIAN who quits coming to CHURCH because of the JUDGMENTAL SPIRIT of some of his or her FELLOW-CHRISTIANS in the CONGREGATION.
Maybe YOU have ERECTED some of these WALLS because you FELT HURT or BETRAYED or BELITTLED by another.
B. Whatever the REASON, these WALLS go up because PEOPLE no longer feel SAFE.
1. If we want the WALL to come down, then we need to RESPECT the WALL and do what we can to CREATE a SAFE PLACE for the other person once again. SAFETY comes when others feel VALUED by us.
2. Remember Paul said that “TRUE LOVE is PATIENT . . . and always PROTECTS.”
II. HONOR OTHERS
A. To HONOR OTHERS simply means to VALUE OTHERS.
1. How VALUABLE are your RELATIONSHIPS?
If you SUDDENLY lost your HUSBAND or WIFE in a CAR ACCIDENT, would it LEAVE a VOID in your LIFE?