Lately I’ve been a short book titled The Cure by John Lynch, Bruce McNicol, and Bill Thrall. Using a combination of story and prose, they build an interesting picture of how to live in grace versus a life of religious self-effort. The authors use the image of two rooms to describe the choice we have in how we live life: The Room of Grace and The Room of Good Intentions.
One of the later chapters contrasts the type of friendships that can be found in each of these rooms. Relationship formed in The Room of Grace are positive influencers, while relationships formed in the room of good intentions are negative influencers. They give an excellent description of how these two types of relationships compare to each other.
- Negative influencers will demand your trust of them, as a condition of their support. But it is a trust for their benefit, not yours.
- Positive influencers ask permission to earn your trust. They will wait for permission to be let in. They put the onus on themselves, not you.
- Negative influencers will see you as a sinner who needs help becoming a saint. Their goal is fixing your issues.
- Positive influencers will see you as a saint who still fails. Their goal will be to foster an environment where nothing stays hidden.
- Negative influencers will measure your righteousness by how little you sin.
- Positive influencers are convinced you are righteous, so they’re interested in how you’re receiving and giving love. They know that striving to sin less will not mean you love more, but that living in love will mean you are sinning less. (p 87)
This is a challenging list. I hope to be the type of friend who is a positive influencer. I desire that the missional communities we build would be communities marked by relationship built on grace.