Those who bring you down

The other day a priest was saying that when it comes to folks we know, there are those who bring us down and drain us and those who edify and lift us up. We always want to be the latter. True friends do not bring us down. They do not drain us. They do not lead to tension. They do not make us feel diminished. They do not bring agitation. They don't cause confusion. They may correct us, but without degrading. In this correction is affirmation. They don't cause us to think less of ourselves. They don't lead us to temptations.

When there is uplift, and nourishment, there is the Holy Spirit.

What kind of a person drains energy? A person who is negative. A person who is self-pitying. A person who is self-centered. A person who is self-consumed. Self, self, self: This is a flow of "electricity" in the wrong direction. We feel that "vibe." Those who are egotistical are inflated and fill their balloon by suctioning in the air from around or even in us. Those who are jealous. Count the "I's in a conversation; strive not to be that person.

When a person speaks of himself, he is "taking," while when he or she is interested in you, and listening, he or she is "giving." Always be interested.

A person who's always depressed sometimes needs our help but sometimes we enable them by allowing them to wallow in self pity. A person who is aggressive or hostile drains our energy because we have to expend strength defending our spirits.

We pray for such people, without casting them out, without disdaining them, but also without letting them infringe on who we are. Sometimes, birds of a feather flock together. But also, sometimes, birds that were once of a feather are still together. And on still other occasions, we are not of the same feather and never were but are thrust into situations whereby closeness has been forced upon us. A person may push himself or herself nearer than what is normal and than what we would have wanted (and than what is in God's Plan for us).

There are healthy distances (especially from worldliness).

This is not to say that we throw out acquaintances like paper cups! Nor is it to say we should ignore others, just because they aren't always a pleasure to be around. We are called to minister to those who need ministering (even if silently), and we are surely not called to make others feel badly. Hurting feelings is a big deal to God. Form no cult that excludes others. Love knows no religious bounds.

But neither should we allow ourselves to be dragged down. If a person doesn't elevate you (sometimes through correction), perhaps that person is not ready or is not intended to be a bosom buddy. You are just their echo chamber. When this is the case you will note not only how much they talk but, again, how the conversation centers on them. They are self-centered and want you as a planet revolving around their sun. In this life, there are times we have to keep people at arm's length, particularly when their presence causes uneasiness, tension, confusion, or spiritual attack. Minister to them, but without letting them compromise your peace. "Acts of ego, fear, control, anger, selfishness, and faithlessness will dim the Divine spark and thus your positive impact on others," was a revelation. "When someone is negative, frustrated, defensive, or angry, everyone they meet will feel that energy as well. This is because thoughts, feelings, words, and actions are all forms of energy -- positive or negative -- and there is a universal energy connection among all things. The Divine spark is never extinguished, but it can be dimmed by dark thoughts and acts of negativity that block out God's Presence."

As another priest said a few days after, "Everywhere there are people who are in need of healing of one kind or another: physical, emotional, or spiritual. You can't heal them, of course. But you can be an instrument of the healing power of God, a channel through which the healing is given. We all know the experience of people coming into our lives who only take from us, and we feel diminished and depleted and broken by their presence. But there are other people who come into our lives who are a healing presence, and we feel restored and renewed and replenished simply by their being with us. Jesus' men and women are called to be that kind of people. There is really nothing to compare with it: to feel yourself becoming more and more a channel through which God's healing power touches the lives of people who are hurting."

Be an uplift to others; don't ignore those who are not an uplift (if they truly need you). But likewise, don't let negativity get too close. Let the Holy Spirit be your wall and bridge.

[resources: The God of Healing]

[Footnote: "For those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh," says Romans 8, "but those who live according to the spirit with the things of the spirit. The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace. For the concern of the flesh is hostility toward God."]