Relationships aren’t always easy, and current events can make them even trickier to navigate. But we need healthy friendships now more than ever. So we sat down with Pastor Amy Groeschel on the You’ve Heard It Said podcast to talk about this year’s relationship-focused Sisters event, plus what it looks like to find friendships and help them flourish. Listen to the full conversation here and read below for some of our favorite parts.
We know that you have a great message prepared for us about the importance of relationships and unity, which are so needed right now. What inspired you to write this year’s message?
Pastor Amy: I have learned over the years that we truly do have the mind of Christ. As I was seeking and asking the Lord what to do for this coming year’s Sisters event, my heart and my mind went in a direction that I couldn’t shake. This was combined with the Holy Spirit working and teaching me about relationships in my own personal life.
As I spent time in His Word and praying, my awareness was heightened to the need of connection. I think it probably was for a lot of us.
He was also growing me in humility, because we’ve come to a place in these past 18 months where there’s opposing viewpoints and a lot of division in families, the church, and friendships. It’s been a challenge.
Instead of trying to just form an opinion and start judging anybody else for their different view, I wanted to see what was going on in my heart—and I think God wanted me to see that as well.
For anybody who is in a space where they don’t have those relationships, what is maybe their first step to begin finding them?
Pastor Amy: Start to pray. It’s not a cliché. Expect that when you pray, God is going to hear it. Then don’t think that text or seeing that person is random or a coincidence. So get specific with that prayer because I think God’s working in that.
Have there been relationships you’ve had with others who have had different opinions than you? How have you learned to lay those differences down and fight for the relationship?
Pastor Amy: It’s interesting because the people that we’re closest to—I find they’re who we’ll discover the most disagreements with.
Years ago, my prayer partner and I had different views, theologically, that weren’t essentials. They would be what the Scripture calls disputable matters. It didn’t matter to me, but it seemed to matter to her that I carry her views because she kept wanting to bring it up. We went round and round in conversations, and it kind of wore me out.
But I felt like it was worth us coming to a conclusion, even if it was agreeing to disagree. We would always end our discussion with a celebration over what we did agree on, and it became such a unifying thing.
The thing that could have divided us and split our friendship apart—because we weren’t seeing eye to eye—instead brought us closer together. It took both of us to come to unity. And now the bond that we have is so strong.
For anybody who’s in a situation like that right now but wants to protect that relationship, what can we do?
Pastor Amy: We have to humble ourselves. That is the key to all of this. Craig has beautifully coined statements on this issue like, “God didn’t call us to be right. He called us to love.” It’s not that he’s not calling us to truth, but “being right” and “truth” can be separate things because so many of these things that we are taking a stand on aren’t based on strict biblical truths.
The truths that matter are eternal truths. You can pray for people. You don’t have to fix them. You don’t have to correct them. Just love them where they’re at.
Sometimes I’ve gotten dogmatic over some opinion. But it doesn’t matter unless it’s the opinion of God—His mindset, His viewpoint. Ultimately, I want God’s perspective.
Through the last 18 months, I have accumulated opinions, and I have learned that the Holy Spirit’s just saying, “Lay all of those things down and present them before me. Get my thoughts on this, my views on this, my heart on this,”—and it’s quite different. And it’s better. It’s free.
The mind of the Spirit is life and peace. And so many people haven’t had life and peace in their thoughts and in their relationships because we’re listening to all of the hoopla more than we’re listening to the voice of the Spirit.
I’ve been there, and I’ve done the wrong things and gotten worked up into the wrong things.
Now I’m just throwing them down. They were a hindrance.
As we think about our relationships, the common denominator in all of them is ourselves. So what are some things we can develop within ourselves and within our own character to help us have healthy relationships with other people?
Pastor Amy: Again, it goes back to humility. But specifically, humble yourself before God. I go to God every day and as I look to Him, He shows me things to lay down: fear, insecurity, pride of an opinion. It happens a lot over petty things. That’s why looking to God is the key to all of this.
I love that you said that we need to look to God, because that relationship is ultimately going to influence the way that we have relationships with other people too. And so for you, what does it look like to look to go to the Father?
Pastor Amy: My mind and my heart will go to Him like you would run to the phone when a friend calls. He’s my source. And so looking to Him means that when I wake up, I’m thinking about my source, my best friend. That’s something that has to be fostered. I’ve learned to get desperate for His presence.
I try to always put myself in a place of desperation, realizing how needy I am, because that neediness will keep me dependent. It will keep me looking up, keep me relying, keep me hungering and thirsting for Him. The Christian life is not meant to be, “Jesus saves me and then I figured out how to do it on my own.” It’s the abiding; it’s the connection. We have to seek Him. Seek is a word I focus on—seek and a delight to enjoy that relationship.
That sums up my relationship—it’s always seeking, delighting, and clinging.