By Kenneth Stepp
I decided to write about this subject because it's been on my mind for quite some time. I have, over the years watched people simply lose any value to those that seemed to care about them. That is what this is about.
As a person that studies real crime stories it has always fascinated me that a spouse could murder or hire a hit man to "take out" their mate. Most of these relationships start off the same. Intense attraction, feelings of longing, missing each other, etc. How do they get from there to wanting them gone permanently? I still do not get it. My wife and I disappoint each other. We are frustrated. But were still in love with her after almost 27 years. We ceased our relationship early 2013.
So what other instances have I seen of people just losing any value to someone that found great value in them before?
Employers. I've watched people come and go in corporations and organizations. People that were sought out, hunted, and wooed into joining forces with these companies. Not long ago I listened as a friend told of his dilemma at work. For seventeen years he has worked for his company, moved up, been a leader, etc. His numbers and production are at the highest end of the scale, as he is in charge of an important area of the US. A new, younger person was hired to be his boss. After about ten months he gets that dreaded message, "we are moving in another direction". And seventeen years of winning, leadership, and loyalty are rendered null and void
Friendships. Hopefully I can write about this subject without anger. It may be longer than needed too. I can only speak from my own experience. I have always thought I was a good friend. Maybe I was wrong, who knows? I'm not even sure what that means. When does a relationship move from being an acquaintance to a friend, to a good friend? My view of a good friend was always defined by who I trusted in my inner circle. Who I trusted with my strengths and weaknesses not to judge me. I still believe that is a helpful view. But not the whole view.
I was successful for years in small business. I had friends and always had visitors stop by my office. I loved it. It makes you feel connected.
In 2007 I had a 1.3 million dollar theft, we lost everything. Homes, properties, savings, college funds, income, and even the reputation I had always been so careful with. It was devastating. Our world went into a nosedive. And there were times when I couldn’t handle it well.
For this reason I started counseling small business owners on business rescue, and pre bankruptcy preparedness. I want to keep others from experiencing what we did. And I have had the pleasure of doing this several times. It is rewarding. I have also never charged for it. It caused me to set up a nonprofit to help families in temporary financial crisis. Most people have no idea what a twenty dollar bill could mean to someone looking for a job, or a small check at Christmas for a single mom.
I had an inner circle of friends back then. Guys I would literally trust with my life. At some point, and by that I mean the same minute, they all vanished at the same moment. I never understood what happened. They were just gone. I can't to this day explain fully how this affects a person struggling with crisis. I can only say for certain that it changes you forever
What doing this does is to isolate the hurting individual. They have invested in these relationships for years. When they need someone to lean on, they vanish. For myself, and anyone in that dilemma, you can't form a relationship at that time. You are far too emotionally damaged to find a real friend. I went through mine alone. The consequences were terrible and life changing enough. They were very near life ending.
Church leaders that excuse themselves away like my friends did. Really aren't leaders, friends, or have a desire to learn what unconditional love is. It appears the "Leadership Cult" that has infected todays church created a large chasm between the mission Jesus gave us and the church agenda.
I met with one of these guys early last year. Yes, he actually needed a favor and called me. I had to ask. Where did you guys go? I was told they had decided the best course of action was to leave me alone, turn away, and move on. Wow. It's taken me almost a year to actually put these thoughts in writing. I’m still processing it. This was far more painful than losing everything and having to start over in my 50's. This one hurt to the bone, still does.
None of us even speak these days. I've reached out several times but nothing comes of it. These are leaders and men of certain standing in the community. They will never know the damage walking away did. People would say, who cares? their loss, etc. If you've never experienced it, you just don’t understand. For this reason I will always be there for anyone that reaches out. In my circle or not. I will always find the value in them and be available to them. So good did come out of this experience.
Unconditional love Biblically, can only be achieved through the power of the "Helper", the Holy Spirit. Judge not means judge not. No person can love and judge at the same time. Judging is easier.
Being the recipient of modern day "shunning" is tough. It makes you feel worthless. It changes not only you, but every relationship you have or will have in the future. Use the experience for good. And remember even the people you put on a pedestal will justify anything when someone is in trouble. Keep the pedestal in the closet. No one should be on it.
If you are an employer, community leader, pastor, or a friend. Strive to always see value in everyone. Some people will suck the life out of you, continue making mistakes, and be needier than others. Stay in contact. If someone works for your company or organization and you feel the need to replace them, change their title, etc. Take into consideration the loyalty they have shown, the hard work, the time itself. These people have value. Show it in your actions.
If you are a person of faith, lean into that faith, not in the people behind it. People by nature are flawed, and everyone has narcissistic tendencies. Everyone is selfish in some way. It’s the nature of us. If your employer does or says something that makes you feel small, unnoticed, or slighted. Lean into that faith. Knowing that there is someone or something else is what will make a difference. Do the best you can do and let it go. Be yourself. Allow others to as well. None of us makes it out of this life alive.
I am on a journey now. Figuring out who and what God is. I went from believing God exists to knowing God exists. Unwrapping all of this has been an amazing adventure. No need for organised religion anymore. Far more mankind like than spiritual. Church is just a painful memory now. It stands as a testament to man's failure to understand the power of God, the real mission, and what love can accomplish.