God is calling each of us to be a safe person and to be in community with other safe people. But how do we identify safe people? There are many wolves in sheep’s clothing within the church. Those who should be safe — fellow believers, leaders, family, friends — are not always.
Safe people draw us closer to God, to others, and help us become the real person God created us to be. They respect the limited autonomy God has given us over our life by not trying to control us. The love and acceptance we feel being around them leaves us wanting to be around them more. Check out the following list for some characteristics of a safe person.
- Accept you just as you are and love you no matter what.
- Are people you can be yourself around, without fear of judgement, condemnation, or rejection.
- Show empathy for your challenges.
- Value separateness and togetherness in relationship.
- Have words and actions that are consistent with each other.
- Respect your boundaries.
- Share freely their thoughts, feelings, and opinions without judging others.
- Humbly own their own weaknesses and accept feedback from others as an opportunity to be better.
- Do not just apologize, but repent and change their behavior when they are wrong.
- Listen intently.
- Have good boundaries.
- Demonstrate discipline and good decision making.
- Earn trust, rather than expecting or demanding it.
- Keep your confidence; they do not gossip.
- Enjoy seeing others succeed and grow.
- Create a feeling of safety and security within their presence.
- Practice forgiveness.
- View and treat others as equals.
- Confront issues rather than avoiding them.
- Don’t flatter but do speak the truth in love with grace.
- Are not defensive.
- Are not rigidly religious, judgmental, or condemning.
- Recognize that there is a Holy Spirit, Who brings conviction and leads into all Truth, and further recognize that they are not Him.
- Are comfortable with grief and strong emotions. They don’t feel the need to distract from uncomfortable emotions, but instead can be a shoulder to cry on and might even cry with you.
- Don’t try to “fix” you or offer unwanted advice. They listen, encourage, and pray.
- Are emotionally healthy, not needing your approval to be okay. They can handle stormy, mixed and intense emotions without being offended.
In addition to identifying and building relationships with safe people, we must also learn how to have boundaries with unsafe people.