relationships pictureThree quick facts about relationships. 1.) Your relationships, many times, are a reflection of your true heart condition. You can’t hide who you are. Your heart condition, either healthy or wounded, will show up in your relationships. Marriage. Work. Family. Community. Etc.

2.) Real holiness is found in your ability to get along with others. 17 Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. MSG James 3:17

3.) When people think, “Life would be better if I moved”, “If I could upgraded my spouse”, “If I could get a new job”, etc. they fail to understand the YOU principle. No matter where ‘you’ go, ‘you’ are still ‘you’. If you are miserable here today, you will be miserable there tomorrow.

Quick recap of our relationship series. Week 1: Sam asked the question, why are relationships so hard? It’s because in community, in friendship, in the work world, in marriage, the issues of our heart come out.

Week 2: Sam and Kim asked the question, are you ready to be in a relationship? Believe it or not, many people aren’t read to be in a relationship. Do you take responsibility for yourself, do you hurt others, do you over react, do you lift people up or tear them down?

Last week: I talked about how you make a relationship great. Jesus said, 31 Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! MSG Luke 6:31 We said to make a relationship great, you focus on others and until you can do that, you will probably struggle to connect with people.

Today I want to talk about trust. If you want to be in healthy, long term, life giving relationship, it demands trust. The reverse is true to, if you look at relationships that are falling apart, those relationships have lost or are losing trust. I want read to you what Jesus said.

5 “Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from me you can’t do a thing. 6 If anyone separates from me, he is thrown away like a useless branch, withers, and is gathered into a pile with all the others and burned. 7 But if you stay in me and obey my commands, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted! 8 My true disciples produce bountiful harvests. This brings great glory to my Father. 9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Live within my love. 10 When you obey me you are living in my love, just as I obey my Father and live in his love.”

Jesus is talking about our relationship with Him. He uses grape vines as an analogy. If you are connected to Jesus in relationship, He can produce love, joy and peace inside of you. Why does Jesus tell us this? Jesus tells us in the next verse.

11 I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your cup of joy will overflow!

Why does Jesus want us to be in relationship with Him? So that we experience a spiritual joy that only He can give. Then Jesus gives us a command.

12 I demand that you love each other as much as I love you. 13 And here is how to measure it-the greatest love is shown when a person lays down his life for his friends; 14 and you are my friends if you obey me.” TLB John 15:5-15

How do you measure your ability to be a friend? It’s when you are connected with God and your heart is filled with a spiritual joy only He can give. Then and only then, can you lay down your life for your friends. You may not have to die today in our culture, but at least, it’s when you are willing to give up your agenda to serve your friends. God actually demands that kind of friendship from us. It’s called trust.

I want talk about the details about what trust is. There are four key things that are required if you are going to be trustworthy. Maybe you lost trust, how do you get it back? I want to talk about it using a formula.

EI stands for Emotional Intelligence. It’s our ability to do the right thing regardless of our situation or our feelings. Our emotions influence us but they don’t rule us or define us. Probably the hardest thing for me to do as a leader/pastor is to have emotional intelligence. In other words, you have to be nice to people, and I struggle with that. People don’t go to a church where the pastor is a jack wagon and is mean – right? So regardless of how I feel emotionally, I need to respond to people well.

What is your Emotional Intelligence? Do you have any? Do your emotions control you and define your day? This might be why others don’t trust you.

B stands for Behaviors. It’s when what we say matches what we do. It’s our ability to follow through on what we commit to. When I was in high school, I babysat kids in the neighborhood. I remember one time when a family called form me to baby sit and I committed to it. The next day, a friend of mine got great seats to a Sixers game [back when the Sixers were great]. I brought it up to my dad. His answer? No, you can’t go to the Sixers game, you must follow through on your commitment.

What are your behaviors? Do you follow through on your commitments or do you make 1,001 reasons why you can’t follow through? This might be why others don’t trust you.

T stands for Time. Trust is earned over time. Sometimes years and decades.  Who do you trust the most? Probably the person you have known the longest. This is why relationships take time, lots of time. You can’t rush it.

C stands for Character. Our ability to be honest with ourselves and others. Nothing will destroy trust faster than a poor character. You can have emotional intelligence for a period of time. You can have right behaviors for a period of time. However, in one moment, your poor character can destroy what took years to build. That means, trust is built on your character. When I was growing up, we had a youth pastor, Mr. Pascucci. He was the coolest guy. All the kids loved him. He was just cool to be around. I go to college and guess what I hear? Mr. Pacucci had an affair and left Mrs. Pacucci. I’ll never forget it. In that moment, he broke all trust that I had in him.

What is your Character? Are you honest with yourself and others? It might explain why people don’t trust you.

Emotional Intelligence times Behaviors times Time divided by Character is your Trust Factor.

Let me ask you, every time people meet you, what is your trust factor?

Where do you start to build trust or rebuild trust? You focus only on what you can control, your character. How do you do that? You invite the Holy Spirit to take over your heart. 22 When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. NLT Galatians 5:22-23

What is your trust factor?