There are people in your life—or you can get people in your life—to help you live bravely into a life of forgiveness. These are the same people who are living brave as whole people with boundaries willing to get their hearts broken and still be brave who speak words that heal you. Because of how they live their lives so filled with brave faith, they may not seem like “safe people” because they are “brave people.” That is the irony of bravery, isn’t it?!
How will you recognize these people? You need to evaluate the people you are choosing to be in relationship with. Yes, this will be judgey of you but this is okay. This is called discernment. This is discerning which of your relationships get limited boundaries and which get BIG boundaries. You have been given such wisdom to discern these things as in Proverbs 8:11-12, For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it. I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment.
Do you want a list to help you with this discernment? A recommended resource from us is anything written by Dr. Henry Cloud. He has a whole book on this topic called Safe People. It is a worthy read. He has an online community you can join, Boundaries.me. It is a worth the minimal cost (it really is minimal). It will make you smarter, especially a smarter discerner. Here is a list to also help you. It is a combination of Dr. Henry Cloud and me.
- People you can watch and observe from an emotional distance for a season.
- People who are gentle with you during the trust-earning season.
- People who are loving and who have a good reputation for being loving over time. Watch their actions, not just what they say.
- People who are willing to earn trust rather than demand it.
- People who are willing to allow time to happen. Time is such an important factor here.
- People who have grace for imperfections.
- People who are not afraid to show their own imperfections.
- People who are not afraid of their own vulnerability.
- People who have endured pain themselves, but are recovering or have recovered.
- People who are beautiful because of their pain.
- People who can be empathetic to your pain.
- People who can speak the truth to you lovingly.
- People who see you, the real you that you expose to them, and still see you lovingly.
- People who are growing you into a better person.
- People who inspire you.
- People who are not controlling.
- People who view relationships equally, rather than a one-up, one-down perspective.
- People who view God as “not a tame lion” but who is mighty and wild and sometimes hard to understand—and this does not shrink their faith but grows their faith.
With these safe people in your life, you can live braver. They can lead you into a life of forgiveness. A life that begins with ”worthiness is my birthright” so I am deciding to live bravely. If I become broken-hearted, I choose to forgive. I also discern that if you are one of those negative people you are no longer allowed to define who I am. Then I will go on to bless my world with my skin in the game. The world needs the heartbreak I risk. I can live like this.
I can live like this? Yes, I can live like this. Wow.