The People Factor: How Building Great Relationships and Ending Bad Ones Unlocks Your God-Given Purpose

© 2014 Vanable H. Moody, II

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Nelson Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson. Nelson Books and Thomas Nelson are registered trademarks of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc.

Published in association with Eames Literary Services, LLC, Nashville, Tennessee.

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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations in this book are from The Holy Bible, New International Version. © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked
NKJV
are taken from the New King James Version. © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked
MSG
are taken from
The Message
by Eugene Peterson. © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Moody, Van, 1975-

The people factor : how building great relationships and ending bad ones unlocks your God-given purpose / Van Moody.

pages cm

Includes bibliographical references.

ISBN 978-1-4002-0502-8

ISBN 978-1-4002-0503-5 (eBook)

1. Interpersonal relations--Religious aspects--Christianity. I. Title.

BV4597.52.M65 2014

248.4--dc23

2013022629

Printed in the United States of America

13 14 15 16 17 RRD 6 5 4 3 2 1

He who walks with the wise grows wise,
but a companion of fools suffers harm.

—P
ROVERBS
13:20

To my amazing wife, Ty, and our beautiful children, Eden Sydney and Ethan Isaiah: I love you so much!

To the Worship Center Christian Church family: I am honored to serve the greatest church this side of heaven.

Contents

Foreword
by Kenneth C. Ulmer

Introduction

Part 1: The Critical Laws of Relationships

1
You’ve Got to Be You

The Law of Being Real

2
Healthy Relationships Must Be Win-Win

The Law of Mutual Benefit

3
Be Like-Minded About What Really Matters

The Law of Agreement

4
Release Your Past to Embrace Your Future

The Law of Letting Go

5
You Can’t Be Friends with Everyone

The Law of Selectivity

6
Everybody Has to Give

The Law of Sacrifice

7
What You Don’t Know
Can
Hurt You

The Law Against Secrets

8
The Most Valuable People Aren’t Always the Most Visible

The Law of True Value

9
Is That Person
Really
on Your Side?

The Law of Loyalty

10
Changing Places

The Law of Constructive Transition

Part 2: How to Make the Most Difficult Choices

11
You Can’t Take Him with You

Knowing When and How to End an Unhealthy Relationship

12
Kiss Orpah Good-Bye

Recognizing Who Is in Your Life for the Long Term

13
When Helping You Is Killing Me

How to Have Healthy Relationships with Unhealthy People

Part 3: Essentials of Great Relationships

14
The Journey Matters

Understanding the Process of Great Relationships

15
Lovesickness and Its Cure

The Vertical Factor

Acknowledgments

Notes

About the Author

Foreword

PEOPLE ARE RELATIONAL BEINGS. WE ARE made to be in relationships with others. In fact, when God created humankind, He quickly observed that it is not good for people to be alone (Gen. 2:18). We all need dual dimensions of relational love in our lives—a vertical love relationship with God and horizontal love relationships with other people. Perhaps like you, I have spent my life trying to manifest and maximize my vertical relationship with God, but my greatest struggles have not been vertical; they have been horizontal—with other people. Sometimes I wish the Lord had simply said in His Word, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and not included, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37, 39).

Maybe you can relate when I say my biggest relational challenges are with the horizontal connections in my life. Maybe you also love God vertically but have trouble trying to love horizontally—especially when people are unlovely or unlovable, or when they do not want the love you have to offer. Trying to obey God and love people when they do not love you can be especially difficult.

Let’s think for a moment about the first human relationship, the one between Adam and Eve. In Genesis 1 and 2, they related to each other in ways consistent with their vertical relationship with God. However, in Genesis 3, the serpent (the devil) entered the picture and both the vertical and horizontal relationships of Adam and Eve were forever distorted. Their loyalty and love for God disintegrated into disobedience, demonstrated by deception and the destruction of their trust, honesty, and holiness. Adam blamed Eve, and she blamed the serpent. Ultimately they tried to put the blame on God, who had given Adam the woman, and who had made the serpent!

As people living after the fall, we are predisposed to handle our relationships in the shadow of distorted humanity. Rather than flesh out those relationships based on our vertical connection with a loving God, we strain and struggle horizontally to love, forgive, and bless the people around us. We are to love others as God loves us, forgive others as He forgives us, and ideally we are to handle others as He handles us. Oh, that dealing with other people could be so simple! The insights and skills we desperately need in the realm of relationships do not come naturally to us. In a sinful, fallen world, we need all the help we can get in the area of relationships. As the Ethiopian said to Philip, “How can I [understand] without some help?” (Acts 8:31
MSG
). In this book, help is on its way!

The author of this potentially life-changing book, Van Moody, has wisdom beyond his years, vision beyond his imagination, and commitment beyond his generation. He has an unquenchable thirst for righteousness and a persistent passion for the things of God, and he is in dogged pursuit of godly truth. Van Moody is a gift from God for the times in which we live, and I believe these pages are also a powerful gift to all who will read, absorb, and apply their insights.

This exceedingly helpful book introduces and explains practical principles about the oh-so-challenging arena of earthly relationships. It will help you break patterns of destruction, disrespect, and deception; and it will assist you in assimilating and applying eternal principles of living and dealing with other people in the ever-changing dynamics of today’s culture.

Moody suggests that the foundational problem we face in many aspects of our lives is a lack of skill and mastery in the art of relationships. He helps us gain and develop those abilities. In a flowing, attention-grabbing style, he affirms the timeless value of issues that seem to have become relics of the past: integrity, commitment, loving honesty, fidelity, and forgiveness. With remarkable insights and a high level of practicality, he unapologetically grounds his redemptive revelations and directives in “the greatest, most effective relationship book of all time, the manual for all successful lives and relationships: the Bible.”

I can’t help but speculate what the world would have been like if Adam and Eve had had a book like this, if Cain had had a book like this, or if Abraham and David had had the information and advice available in these pages. In fact, I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been like had I had a book like this before now! I am one of a whole host of people who have crashed their lives, endangered their destinies, and ruptured and ruined relationships because I did not have access to a practical grasp of the truths documented in this book. Choices I have made, hearts I have broken, lives I have impacted negatively—all could have been radically redeemed had I had a book like this. There is a long list of men and women who could have benefited from this instructive, insightful, inspirational work. Prepare to be challenged, confronted, and changed. And prepare to have your relational skills sharpened and honed to position you for your next level of success and destiny.

Kenneth C. Ulmer, DMin, PhD

The King’s University

Los Angeles, California

Introduction

THERE MUST BE A REASON YOU PICKED UP this book.

Most people do not read books on relationships if they feel their relationships are healthy, happy, or easy. So I wonder: What is it that you want to know about relationships? Have you recently realized how vital good relationships are to every area of your life? Has it just dawned on you that you need to learn to do relationships better? Have you recently attained a leadership position that calls for more savvy than you have had in the past when dealing with people? Have you found yourself at a crossroads or a crisis in your life because a relationship has fallen apart? Or are you looking at a whole new future because a seemingly great relationship has just begun and you are desperate to get it right? Whatever your situation, keep reading all the way to the end of this book, because I believe you will find the answers you need—and so much more.

You have some kind of relationship with everyone you encounter. Some relationships are extremely personal and some are strictly professional. Some are casual and on-the-surface relationships, and some are intimate and deep. But every relationship you have influences your life.
There are no neutral relationships
. Each one lifts you up or weighs you down. It moves you forward or holds you back. It helps you or it hurts you.

As a pastor, I have listened to thousands of people share a variety of problems, each one looking for answers and advice. In these face-to-face meetings, people are ready to talk about serious stuff, the rubber-meets-the-road issues in their lives, the circumstances that keep them awake at night. Almost always, these major situations stem from relational challenges. Sometimes the matter pertains to a loveless marriage or a conflict at work. Sometimes the problem is that people truly cannot understand each other or do not know how to communicate. Sometimes what they talk about makes me sick and angry, such as situations involving incest or abuse. Most of the time, I simply need to share with them the lessons no one ever taught me about relationships, truths and insights I have learned along my journey through life by the grace of God.

As a human being, in addition to my role as a pastor, I have come to understand that relationships are the most important area of a person’s life. The most important relationship, of course, is a relationship with God, and then relationships with others. I am convinced that everything in life rises and falls on our relationships. They make us or break us. Along these lines, author and marketing guru Seth Godin says: “Who you hang out with determines what you dream about and what you collide with. And the collisions and the dreams lead to your changes. And the changes are what you become. Change the outcome by changing your circle.”
1
Clearly, relationships can make the difference between a great life and a miserable existence. They can launch us into heights of excellence and achievement we never dreamed possible, or they can keep us down in the dumps, tethered to mediocrity for all of our days.

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