We live in such an unsafe world. Physically yes, but more damaging, emotionally. Do people feel emotionally open and safe around you or do they feel emotionally protected and fearful in your presence? Some questions.
Do I quickly look to find someone else to blame in the face of a mistake because I can't handle being wrong? When there is the potential to feel small in front of people, do I make someone else look small so I can look bigger...even when it's done in fun? Do I try and find ways to let people know how much I know? "I told you so" and "I could have told you that" are sure signs of striving to make others fell small so I can look big. Do I always feel that I need to teach others? What about gossip? Talking negatively about other people is a huge indicator of insecurity, and insecurity causes us to puff ourself up by diminishing someone else by focusing on their weaknesses. Do people avoid me or are they drawn to me? Do I show preference to people who tend to be like me, and not others? Do I tend to have a controlling behavior? Do I usually feel the need to correct people in conversations? Do I have a hard time turning conversations back to other people and focusing discussions on them?
The more likely I am to answer Yes to many of these questions, the less emotionally safe I am. The less emotionally safe I am the less relationships I will have, the less impact I will have and the more alone I will eventually be. Porcupines are avoided for a reason.
And I've noticed that it's usually the case that the better we know people the more careless we are with their hearts. It's often easier to show kindness and empathy to the orphan in Africa, and the person serving us at the drive thru, than it is to the people we live with and work with every day. I think that is tragic.
Think about the families that would still be together. Think about the churches that would still be unified. Think about workplaces that would be fun to go to every day. All if we could be emotionally safe people who create emotionally safe places. I love the instant look on someone's face when they feel... much about themselves. It's the look I imagine everyone had when they came face to face with Jesus.