There has been so much discussion and buzz about this topic that I have to insert a classic teaching from none other than my husband, Apostle Clifford E. Turner...he called it the levels of friendship ....but I think it is more appropriate to say levels of RELATIONSHIP (because some levels of relationship are not friendships)
(NOW THIS MEANS THIS TEACHING ON RELATIONSHIP WILL HAVE TO EXTEND TO FIVE PARTS AND THEN I WILL CUT IT OFF...BECAUSE IT IS SOOOOOOO MUCH THAT YOU HAVE TO JUST BUY MY BOOK OK?) LOL
THE LEVELS OF RELATIONSHIP:
Life, Business, the Kingdom...all of them function through relationship. There is a saying, "It is not WHAT you know it is WHO you know" because in all of these circles there are many who have personal knowledge, but without the right relationships, they don't move very far. You see relationship can put you where your talent and gifting may have never taken you! (Can you say Latoya Jackson!! ) I am sorry...she was the best example I could think of.....I love you Latoya...
But let's keep it real....outside of some people's relationships...we would never know who they were ....(GAYLE KING)
Now wait, that is not a slight, or a swipe it is just truth....the sad thing is the reverse it also true..many who are super talented have the worse relationship skills, poor character, won't support anyone but themselves, so they turn off the very people who are ordained by God to be the key to their success...Have you ever met people and you think...WOW...they are so gifted...but why have they had so little success??? Well, most of the time you really do find out that often these gifted people have no character....which keeps them from gaining favor from the people God put in their lives to help launch them. Please remember the favor that took years to build up can be lost in one day, if you act a fool, don't understand relationship, and cross the boundaries of relationship.
Also, you need to properly categorize people and don't allow people in your life beyond the level that they qualify for. I can hear some of you right now saying, WHAT? Sister Darlyn....are you for real?? I want to tell you a secret ladies about all the things I share with you. These are life lessons I have learned in my 40 PLUS years, taught to me by the HOLY GHOST, and you know what else...backed up in scripture. I will not teach you or say to you ANYTHING that the principle cannot be found in scripture. AND...one of the key things I like to do is mirror God's way of thinking in my life...for example..
God says...after a while of walking with him and serving him (proving yourself, being faithful, etc..)
John 15:15Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
(PARAPRASHING)...I no longer call you servants, but I call you friends....because a servant does not know what his master is doing.....
THEN GOD ALSO SAYS (THIS IS GOING TO MESS YOU UP!):
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you
OK so God says...even concerning us...yes I love you all...yes I do...but to become my friend...you have to first past the test of servanthood...you can sing 'I AM A FRIEND OF GOD" all you want to...but who are you serving? THEN you become my friend...AND IT IS ONLY MY FRIENDS THAT KNOW WHAT I AM DOING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God don't talk to people on the same level of intimacy with those who are just 'associates", "acquaintenes", or church members. So if God has this philosophy, so do I!! And I have zero guilt about it, because it is not that I don't like you, it is not that I have anything against you, it is not that I am jealous of you....YOU HAVE JUST NOT PASSED OR QUALIFIED FOR THAT LEVEL OF INFORMATION IN MY LIFE! As a matter of fact...IF YOU DON'T DO WHAT I ASK OF YOU.....YOU CANNOT BE MY FRIEND!
Do you know you would have a better quality of life and friendship if you demanded friends respect you (not demand in a negative way)...but have expectations for your friends and of course you doing the same...People are not your friends when they cross the boundaries you have set for them! And if you have not set boundaries...you need to..
OK...this is getting too long so I am going to cut it off and give you the levels:
ACQUAINTENCE- People you just know casually, professionally. They may know who you are and or vice versa. You don't talk on the phone, no real relationship...just maybe you met them, or you see them now and then.
ASSOCIATE. People you see more often and more frequently like at work, at church that you have more interaction than just an acquaintence so you know a little bit more about them than just an acquaintance...but the relationship is minimal. You may or may not have their number or have gone to lunc with them, etc....but this is where you are watching people, their habits, their mindsets...etc...
FRIEND This is the stage where based on a person passing the tests of trust, reliability, like mindedness, comradery, felllowship in the associate stage that the level of conversation, interaction, and information move to a more intimate level that would only apply to someone who is a "friend"...i
CLOSE FRIEND....This is where those who because of the MUTUAL exchange in the relationship...note MUTUAL...have shown you that they care about you, go out of their way for you, are there for you...move to an even more intimate level of friendship than just a casual friend. It may be their ability to encourage you, or whatever..but there is a definate distinction between just a "friend".
BEST FRIEND...This is the one who is absolutely the one head and shoulders above all others that you trust fully and completely....They graduated from being your close friend to being your best friend because of their commitment and obvious impact on your relationship to take this top spot as "THE BEST" in listening...the best in being faithful...the best in being there for you...This person will do for you what not even your close friends will do for you...
(NOTE: some of us have had "BEST" friends that were not the best in doing anything for us or the relationship which is why we got hurt because you need to qualify to be "THE BEST".
COVENANT....These are your lifetime friend...period...hopefully your spouse...siblings...those who will be with you up and down, rich or poor...those who value the relationship enough to not allow it to end! Do you know if two people valued the relationship enough they could make it work! But when it is not worth it.....it is not worth the effort..
THere you have it....the levels of relationship...each level should progress to another level of trust, faith, love, intimacy, etc......
I GOT TO STOP NOW...hope this helps...