The strongest currency we have with those around us is relational equity. The greater that equity the greater the trust and influence. The lower the equity the less the trust and influence. Relational equity is something that is carefully cultivated and preserved by those who desire to influence others. It is an intentional investment in relationships over time that causes others to trust, count on, value, and appreciate our relationship - whether it is a close one or from a distance.
Relational equity is not built quickly. One of the advantages of long term friendships in the personal arena and long term ministry in the ministry arena is the opportunity to build strong equity over many years. The longer we have a healthy relationship with others, the greater the trust that is developed and the more we can mutually count on one another, help one another and influence one another.
This relational equity is important if we want to speak into the lives of others or allow them to speak into our lives. We listen to those we trust and who we know has our best interests in mind. On the other hand where such equity does not exist we often resent or discount counsel from others who try to push into our lives: not surprising since we don't know their motivations or know whether we cant trust their intentions.
What are the factors in building this kind of relational equity? First it is built over time because time validates our intentions and builds trust. Second, it is clear to others that we have their best interests in mind - all the time by our actions and service to them. Third, we have not stepped over appropriate boundaries in the relationship or taken advantage of others. Fourth, our interactions are respectful, honoring and have the effect of building others up. Fifth, we can be counted on, are faithful friends and show up when needed. All of these qualities over time build significant equity in the relationship. When any of them are violated we lose equity.
There are no investments more worthwhile or important than relational ones. Those investments are the currency of influence and growth as we interact with people with whom we have mutual trust. They are to be guarded carefully because once violated, they can be hard to rebuild. Those with great relational equity are wealthy people in the best sense of the word.