Thursday, July 14, 2011

Relationship Trumps All

Thursdays – Dawn’s Devotions for Writers

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.”  (John 13:35 NIV)

Back in the day—the ’70s to be a little more specific—I was a part of the Jesus movement. We plastered our cars with “One Way” bumper stickers, pinned numerous buttons with faith-related slogans on our jean jackets, and wore humongous cross necklaces.  It was a time when going door to door with our message or handing out “Do You Know if You’re Going to Heaven?” tracts on street corners was the “in” thing to do for Christians. 

I’m not so sure we accomplished what we set out to do….

The thing is, since my teen years, I’ve learned that telling people how they should live their lives isn’t very productive. Or even the right thing to do. Do you like to be told what to do and how to do it? I sure don’t.

A friend recently told me her niece no longer wanted to spend time with her grandmother because the woman wanted to “evangelize” her. I guess that meant the granddaughter felt the gospel was being shoved down her throat, and she didn’t like it.

 I’m a big believer in relationship. You’ve heard it said that we should watch what we do and say because we may be the only Bible some people read.

As writers, how can we write about relationship—with God or people—if we aren’t experiencing it? Where is the integrity in our work if we write about loving people, but don’t exhibit love ourselves? 

I’ve heard many times over that writers attending conferences should be more concerned about developing relationships with other writers there than trying to pitch their book.  After attending a fair amount of conferences, I agree with that. The friendships I’ve made at the events have been invaluable and will last a lifetime.

Authors who have experience with book signings often advise that it’s better to focus on building relationship with readers who specifically show up to have a book signed, the store staff, and the store’s customers than to worry about sales made that day. Authors have enjoyed getting to know their readers, and there have been many instances where authors were able to minister to those who were struggling with various issues in their lives. 

John 13:35 says that we’ll be known as Christ’s disciples because of how we love each other—our spouses, our family, our friends … and strangers.

In my book, relationship trumps all….

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