This is Joseph Z and I want to talk to you about how you can stop hugging the cactus. Now, you might say, “That sounds rather unique. What do you mean by ‘stop hugging the cactus’?” Well, I use that to give an explanation for relationships that are damaging to you. Now, let me say this first: as believers in Jesus Christ, and if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, first and foremost, we realize 1 Corinthians 13, it tells us so very eloquently and so very clearly by the Spirit of God, that we are to love people. And it tells us how we’re to do that and we should follow that every day of our life.
Yet there’s another aspect to this in love and walking things out with people where sometimes you can be right, you can be in a good place loving people, but you then go beyond loving them and you begin to do things with them, such as work, relationship and areas that you ought not to be functioning with people. Now we have to love everyone, but that doesn’t mean you trust everyone, and it doesn’t mean that you have to put people in positions in your life where they can hurt you for no reason whatsoever.
Let me give you an example of this the best I can. Sometimes, as an analogy, there are people who get better either in relationships and they move on in life and then they circle back around and they find someone they once knew, whether it’s an old relationship or it’s something that was a damaging relationship. And they come full circle on it after they themselves have been healed, they see this person and now they are changed and they want to begin to express their emotion and love for this person. And that is good. But I liken it to this. Just because you’ve changed doesn’t mean someone else has. Now love, we express. But it doesn’t mean you trust people to a certain level, and I hope this helps you. I liken it to those who go up and they begin to hug a cactus.
Sometimes people go up and they begin to squeeze a cactus. They’re different, they’re tender, they’re no longer a cactus, but they throw a blanket on the cactus and say, “This cactus is cold and it needs to be treated well.” And they begin to squeeze the cactus, and they wonder why every time they go to hug that cactus that they get hurt. They say, “No, I am hurt again. Why did the cactus hurt me? Why did these things happen?” Well, ladies and gentlemen, you may have changed, but that doesn’t mean someone else has changed. It also doesn’t mean you do not love the person, but you should deal with people in a relationship aspect based on (please listen to me) capacity.
Let me explain. When you begin to understand capacity, how they can function in a certain way, in a certain scenario, let me give you an example. You would not put a toddler at the wheel of an automobile and begin to give them the keys and say, “Have a nice drive,” because they don’t have the capacity to drive that automobile. How do you determine capacity? Well, this way, this is something I’ve discovered. Maybe it’ll help you. I have found patterns determine capacity, and you can love people through their patterns, whether they be good patterns or bad patterns, but you ultimately can arrive at a position of capacity. In other words, if somebody did something a certain way several years ago, and then you see them repeat that again another time, and they repeat that again another time, and then all the way up to the current day that you’re talking to them, you see them repeating a similar pattern, that pattern will be repeated again in the next scenario you walk with them in.
Now you can love them, but it is a good understanding to position them in your life based on the pattern that they’re displaying. So I’ll say it even better. You would give keys of a car to a young person or someone that has passed their driver’s training, and you let them get into the seat of that car, putting the keys in the ignition. You feel confident that they can drive without harming themself and without harming others. You love them, you will love them, but it is not about your love for them, it’s about knowing their capacity.
So how do we stop hugging cactuses? We begin to do it by beginning to judge relationships, yes, with love, but then by their capacity based on their pattern. I’ll tell you, if you would do that in a working environment, you would base it on people’s patterns. If you would do that in relationship before people would get married, they’d watch the pattern of an individual and base their capacity for marriage or anything else on that pattern, it would save you a lot of heartache and a lot of pain. And I want to say this to you, if you go back to an old relationship and you’re saying, “My goodness, it’s time to just work this out.” You know, somebody you knew maybe before, and I don’t even mean romantically, anybody. And if their pattern has not changed and they don’t show measurable results, maybe you should be careful because you could be in danger of hugging the cactus.
But Jesus has a great plan for you. He’s got a great plan for every individual you know. We have to show love. But I encourage you today to judge capacity based on patterns with love, and I believe it’ll save you a lot of heartache. Man, that’s good information. Well, Jesus is Lord, I’m Joseph Z, and I hope this helped you today, and I look forward to seeing you again very soon.