Summary: God’s relationship with you is the template for how you are to have relationships with others.

A successful relationship begins with several characteristics that when placed together form a beautiful tapestry of growth, strength and health. These characteristics include: self-regulation, "going in the other direction," facing your anxiety, receiving freely, relationship continuum, cooperating rather than compromising and knowing "it’s not about me" just to name a few. When you understand how these and other characteristics fit together you have a plan of action that will work to help you have that successful relationship.

I have illustrated just one of these SuccessFully Relating characteristics below for you to consider where you are on the road to successful relationships.

Do You Receive Freely or Fairly?

Suppose you want to borrow one hundred thousand dollars from a bank and the banker says, “Today we have a special interest rate we are offering on loans. You may borrow the money, and the special interest rate we are offering is only twenty-one percent.” After checking to determine if you heard him correctly, you would want to go to another bank to check their interest rates. Assuming you could borrow the one hundred thousand dollars at any other bank at an interest rate of seven or eight percent, would you borrow the money from the first banker at twenty-one percent interest? Certainly not. It is bad news that this banker is trying to loan you the money at such a high interest rate.

Let’s assume that after refusing the first bankers offer, He continues to offer you not just one hundred thousand, but two, three, four, even half a million dollars at twenty-one percent interest. Would this be increasingly better news or increasingly worse news? Because the interest rate is fixed at twenty-one percent, the more you borrow the more money you will have to pay in interest. It is bad news getting increasingly worse.

Clearly the banker is attempting to loan you this money "for" himself because the more he does "for" you the more you will be obligated to him. He will be able to say look at all I’ve done for you, now you have to do all this for me! Whether you want to or not of course because you are obligated to him. (Sound familiar?)

Now suppose you want to borrow one hundred thousand dollars from a bank and the banker says, "Today you are quite fortunate for you see I am the CEO of another company and we recently took this company public and the IPO initial public offering of stock went very well. As a result, I am worth several billion dollars. If you need one hundred thousand dollars, here is a check made out to you. This is a free gift from me to you. Please take it. There are no strings attached. Have a good life. Be responsible with the money. It’s yours. Is this good news or bad news?" Clearly it is good news.

Would you have some feeling of obligation toward the banker? If you had an ongoing relationship with the banker where you saw him at church or in a social setting would you feel obligated to him? Would you feel like you needed to pay the banker back in some way? Most people feel some sense of obligation and would readily look for a way to pay the banker back. Some people would not take the money as it represents too much of an obligation and almost everyone would ask, "What’s the catch? Where’s the angle? What’s he really want?"

Suppose you decide to put that money into the generous banker’s bank as a way of satisfying your sense of obligation to him. This would allow his bank to benefit from the money by charging service fees and allow the bank to use the money.

Now let’s assume you have found a new bank that is closer to your home, more convenient banking hours, and it advertises lifetime free checking and savings. Would you hesitate to move the one hundred thousand dollars from the generous bankers bank to your newfound bank or would you leave it in his bank because of the obligation you feel toward him? Would you feel guilty or selfish if you moved the money? Would you worry the banker may ask you why you moved the money and then feel exposed because you "owe" him an explanation? Some people would never move the money because they feel so obligated to the banker.

Finally, can you see that some people would begin to feel some resentment toward the banker because you are not able to move the money out of his bank without feeling guilty or selfish and being afraid the banker would ask why you moved the money. You may say you wouldn’t move the money at all because it really never was your money. You could feel trapped by your feelings of obligation and wish you had never even taken the money. Often the reply is that nothing is free in this life.

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