If you’re like me there have been times where your perception of people has failed miserably. Whether through friendships, business partnerships or other relationships, let’s just be honest, sometimes our heart can get ahead of our head and cause us to forget the importance of character among our circle of associations. A person’s character is those key attributes and features that make them who they are. Character counts, and if displayed properly from our associations it can truly add to your life. The flip side of that is character counts, and if displayed improperly from our associations it can cost you.
As painful as it is to say, and hear, there may be times where we’ve judged people incorrectly. That happens, both good and bad. The good news is that we can live through it and learn from it. But through watchful eyes, unbiased observation and a spirit of discernment we should grow to become more clear on who belongs in our circle and how close and who doesn’t belong at all.
So how do you become better discerners of who’s in and who should be out of our lives?
1. Pray before you decide. Before determining a person’s place in your life ask God. Find out if He sent them or someone else.
2. Don’t rush to judgment one way or another. Don’t be quick to include or exclude them. Tread lightly until signs are clear.
3. Observe their actions and reactions when they’re up.
4. Observe their actions and reactions when they’re down.
5. Listen closely to the words they speak paying close attention to gossip, unethical or immoral comments, offensive, or even words of negativity. Chances are if they say it about others they’ll say it about you given the right (or wrong) opportunity.
6. Ask others with wisdom for their thoughts. Just like with a job, don’t hesitate to do a reference check for new friends or potential partners in business or relationships.
7. Weigh the roles. Think wisely about how an association with a person could benefit you or them. People don’t just come together to come together. They come together for purpose and to produce.
8. Check their circle. See if the people they associate with are people with which you would or should associate.
9. Examine an apology. Find out how willing they are to hear “I’m sorry”, or say “I’m sorry”.
10. Broaden your horizon. Sometimes friends come wrapped in unusual boxes. Don’t be afraid to befriend people who aren’t just like you. As long as the Lord is in the mix it’s all good.