Tag Archives: character

People are not ALWAYS what they seem…

Most of us would like to believe we are experts at reading people.

There are some who have this gift. More often than not, it is a challenge to truly know who a person really is until after you get to know them.

Unfortunately, we can become SHOCKED at how they present themselves, albeit hidden beneath a facade to those who are on the outside.

I used to believe that all people had altruistic intentions, and even if they did something against another human being, they were simply masking what the true hurt was on the inside. This may still be the case.

However, through many years of relationships, I have come to discover there are people who outwardly seem altruistic, but inwardly they crave power, control and recognition at the expense of others.

In no way am I recommending not taking a risk and placing trust in others. As a matter of fact, I address trust and vulnerability in previous posts. These are still paramount and will always be critical factors in building healthy relationships. (See previous posts).

The intention behind this short blog post is simply to pass along these cautions:

People are not always what they seem.

Be careful who you affiliate yourself with.

When someone’s true intentions become clear, separate yourself immediately to protect your reputation and future.

There are two old proverbs that I choose to live by (among others), “Choose a good name over great riches,” and “Bad company corrupts good character.”

It has been too long since my last post. Look for more in the near future. It’s good to be back!


8 LEVELS Of Relationship – Part II

First you see or hear of someone. Then you meet them. Then you become an acquaintance. Then you do the hard work (or sometimes easy depending on who it is) of getting to know them.

What comes next?

Know What They Are About

When you enter this level, you have not left the level of Getting to Know Someone. Actually, the last four levels are only higher stages within that level.

You never really stop getting to know an individual. Why? Because, as your relationship grows you both change. It is inevitable that you and the other person are going to adapt to certain situations.

Also, people usually do not lay all their “personal cards” on the table. There is some area or areas they continue to hold close to them. We will get back to this.

While you are in this stage, if you are attentive to it, you will begin to understand what makes this person you are in relationship with tick. What gets them up in the morning? What do they enjoy? What frustrates them? What kind of hobbies do they have? What are some of their pitfalls?

What do they define as success in their life? What kind of friend do they need? What are the goals they have set for themselves? And the list can go on…

The key word here is “WHAT”.

It is all part of understanding the person you are adopting as friend. You will find similarities you have – whether it is in opinion, history, philosophy, faith, etc.

You will also discover traits or characteristics you are not in agreement with. When you do discover this, you need to make a decision as to whether you will simply accept this negative trait or influence this friend and help them overcome it.

CAUTION: Your friend must know this negative trait and they must desire to work on it or change it. Otherwise, it may cause a rift in the developing relationship.

Know WHO Someone Is

This level is one step above knowing what someone is about. At this level you start (and continue to learn) to get an understanding about why this person does life they way they do it.

Why do they respond in certain ways to specific events or circumstances? Why is it they may react positively or negatively to the same situation someone else may normally react opposite?

What is their thought process?

At this stage it may be common for you both to finish each other’s sentences. It may also be common for you to be able to speak on behalf of that friend, because you know how they may respond.

CAUTION: Just do so with great care. A mistake here could set back your relationship or even stall it.

This level is where you have the realization they are what and who they say they are. There is a revelation into the nature of your friendship and the feeling that as long as we maintain healthy communication and boundaries, we could be friends for a very long time.

Someone you can call FRIEND

This is simple. If you have made it to the Knowing WHO Someone Is level, more than likely you have already started calling them “Friend”.

A friend is someone who accepts you just as you are, but is not afraid to call you on your issues. There is a trust that has grown to the point where you can share personal, confidential information and believe it will stop there.

You can also rest assured they will not judge you for your actions, but share their opinion in love to give you a healthy, balanced view of you.

We throw this term around WAY too often. It is a term that should only be used when it is understood mutually that this is the nature of the relationship.

When you vouch for your friend, you believe they will represent your opinion of them well and represent themselves in an honorable way. Besides, your own reputation is on the line when you call them friend.

A friend at this level will sense when something is amiss in your life. When you are down, they know it. When you are happy, they celebrate with you. When you are sad, they listen and allow you to cry – but not for long. When you are in need of a push, they provide motivation.

Then, at some point – and no one can really say for sure when this happens in any relationship – you move on to the highest level of relationship…

Someone You Can Call Family

At this level, the boundaries are all but removed. Sure, you still respect the relational boundaries, but truth, honesty, opinions, issues; NOTHING is off the table for discussion here.

You know that even if you yell, get into a disagreement, or even become separated by circumstance or miles, if they needed you, you would be there for them. This doesn’t mean you will fly 2000 miles, but it means you are there for them emotionally.

If it is possible to be there in person, then you do it. However, miles should NEVER be an excuse not to pick up a phone, talk about your feelings no matter how irrational.

There are some people in our lives that describe family as only those who are blood related, or married into. I would like to blow that definition right out of the water. Sure, being blood related or related by marriage technically makes you family. It does not mean you have developed the relationship through all 8 of these levels.

For example, I found out last summer that I have a cousin whom I have NEVER met. I just heard about her and saw her on Facebook.

I cannot expect her or her expect of me that we are at the highest level of relationship simply because we have a common bloodline. It will take time and a mutual desire to walk through the levels of relationship.

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts about these 8 levels of relationship. Offer your opinions about the levels, share with us. Or email me at TheSophosGroup@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!


Please Forgive Me?

Ever hear that expression, “I forgive you, but I will not forget!”

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There are still others, that say if you don’t forget then you have never really forgiven.

There are problems with both of these statements.

The first statement I would doubt forgiveness was really given. It sounds like a veiled threat. The second statement is impossible. You can never really forget what someone has done to hurt you.

Forgiveness…

The only One that can truly forgive and forget is God Himself.

Let’s unpack the act of forgiveness.

We have ALL been hurt or offended by someone, whether it is something they said or did directly to us, or if it was indirect (gossip, throwing us under the bus, etc). Frankly, it feels horrible.

Not one person I have met likes to be hurt or offended. However, I will say there are those who may are quick to be offended (these are the ones we would likely say have “thin skin”). I know, because I used to be one of them.

There was someone in my life that came alongside me as a mentor who taught me how to have thicker skin – who taught me about forgiveness.

He taught me there are two responses to being hurt and/or offended. We can either allow bitterness to set in because we choose not to forgive them, or we can release the person from the offense or hurt by forgiving them.

When we hold a grudge (bitterness) the only person who is really being negatively affected is ourselves. We continually remind ourselves of what caused the offense and open the wound that was inflicted over and over again never allowing it to heal.

I have seen bitterness literally begin to affect someone physically causing sickness, headaches, and poor health.

Bitterness is a terrible thing. It is like a festering wound that never heals. Bitterness causes someone trouble and begins to stain the relationships with those they are close to.

With bitterness, it blocks us from truly loving others. It is a scab that when picked it begins to remove the healthy skin around the wound.

Distrust is one of the major results of bitterness. Insecurity is another. It can strangle out the healthy aspects of any relationship.

Have I gotten your attention yet?

Living with Unforgiveness in our hearts toward others will slowly dismantle any healthy relationship piece by piece. I have witnessed it destroy marriages, destroy family relationships, destroy friendships, and slowly eat away at the health of two of my family members.

Bitter people – those who have never let go of a past offense or hurt – have built up walls in their hearts toward others. Whether they were hurt by…

A family member

A church

A pastor

A friend

By someone of another ethnicity

By a co-worker or employer

By someone in leadership

When offenses are not dealt with in a healthy manner – walls are built.

Bitterness can stain our relationships. We begin to see others through the lens of the grudge, distrust grows into a stalwart tree and blocks us from experiencing the warmth of other relationships.

Bitterness is the root that grows to become that stalwart tree that cannot be moved. The only way to get rid of bitterness is to UPROOT it. It needs to be completely removed.

How do we do this?

One word – Forgive.

But, you don’t know what they DID to me! You don’t understand the level of the hurt, or the result of the offense!

You are right. I can only tell you in my own life what Forgiving someone has done. It has freed me to love again. It opens up the door to reconciliation on my part. It shows another the strength of your character, the depth of your love, and the power of mercy.

Forgiveness is a powerful tool. In any relationship, you will need to utilize this tool especially if you desire to keep these relationships.

It is difficult to understand the magnitude of the power of forgiveness if you do not realize the need for it and how it can help you develop deep meaningful relationships.

When you forgive – or ask for forgiveness – the weight of the offense and the responsibility is now off your shoulders. It frees you to trust others again, understanding that people are imperfect and so are you.

It is a great feeling when a debt you owe has been canceled. Debt can feel like a weight around your neck.

It is the same way with unforgiveness. It is a weight you carry with you.

There is no better way to describe this than to interject in the conversation a topic that I know many may shy away from. It is that of Jesus Christ.

My faith has been the best example to me of what it means to forgive. In my mind it is easy to harbor bitterness. Then I am reminded of how much I have been forgiven of. I have lied, taken jealousy to places it should not have gone, and I have failed others in relationship.

Worst yet, I have failed to follow the greatest instruction ever given – To Love God and Love others as I love myself. Breaking these commands has placed me in the category of someone in need of forgiveness by God. And Jesus bridged that gap in relationship, forgave me and has shown me that it IS possible to live in relationship with others, to have deep meaningful friendships, and to love others as I love myself.

You too can experience this kind of relationship. If you would like to know more about how, please message me at Daniel_Chrystal@yahoo.com.

The bottom line is that forgiveness can uproot bitterness and open the door to deeper relationships with others.

Forgiveness is a LOST ART, but one that can provide wonderful results when exercised.

Thank you so much for continuing to read week after week. I would love to hear your thoughts. You can email me or respond to this post by Commenting below.