- The Washington Times - Friday, May 1, 2009

CITIZEN JOURNALISM:

There is a saying that “familiarity breeds contempt.” A recent study by Michael I. Norton at the Harvard Business School suggests that, on average, there are very few people we each hold dear, people who do not begin to smell and stink in our nostrils after three days of familiarity.

Hold tight to those exceptional loved ones. As Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6 says: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: … A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away …”

Look closely over your life as the season changes from winter to spring. When you begin spring-cleaning and throw out old items from your home, office or car, remember to clean out those people in your life who are no longer good for you.

Take a close look at folk in your life, and decide who goes and who stays. When you decide who goes, leave them alone and don’t be rude. Just pray for them. Let God do His perfect work in their life. You can’t change them, but God can.

Cleaning out relationship clutter can determine how you look and feel, and could be good or bad. For life is like a theater, so we must invite our audiences carefully. Not everyone is healthy enough to have a front-row seat in our lives.

It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you let go of, or at least minimize your time spent with draining, negative, incompatible, not-going-anywhere relationships.

Evaluate the relationships around you. Which ones lift and which ones lean? Which ones encourage and which ones discourage? Which ones are on a path of growth uphill and which ones are going downhill?

When you leave the company of those people, do you feel better or worse? Which ones have too much drama, don’t really understand you? Which ones know and appreciate you?

As you analyze the people in your life, remember the key ingredients as expressed in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

The more you seek quality, respect, growth, peace of mind, love, joy and truth around you, the easier to decide who gets to blossom this spring in the front row of your garden.

• Lyndia Grant, a freelance religion columnist, is project director of the African-American Civil War Memorial and chief executive of Lyndia Grant Associates LLC.

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