Refrigerator Rights

Personal Development //

I really like Jerry’s neighbor Kramer. While his life wasn’t care free, it seemed pretty stress free.

I think it had a lot to do with how he approached relationships. He was all-in. If he was your friend, you could bet that he would see you in your bathrobe, look inside your medicine cabinet and, of course, make himself a sandwich any time he wanted. Cosmo Kramer had refrigerator rights.

Refrigerator rights are essential to the quality of your life.

When you consider who you are and who you will become in the future, there are three main components that have and will shape you: your experiences, your decisions and your relationships.

Think about the experiences you’ve had – chances are someone was with you.
Think about the decisions you’ve made – chances are you got advice from someone.

That means your relationships have the greatest chance of impacting who you are. Andy Stanley puts it this way, “Your friends determine the direction and quality of your life.” More than anything else, who you spend time with, who you turn to for advice, your friends and loved ones determine the quality of your life.

Scripture agrees. Proverbs 13:20 tells us, ”Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, the companion of fools suffers harm.”

Sounds good, right?

But there’s a problem.

Most of us spend so much time engrossed in TV, social media, and work that we have become disconnected from those close relationships. In many cases, we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking that work relationships or social media relationships are enough. Science tells us otherwise – but really, we don’t even need a study to tell us that. What are the chances that if you are having a middle of the night crisis that you will call one of those social media contacts or work relationships? Especially the ones that you don’t see outside those contexts?

Humans were created to be in close community. Remember the first thing God said was not good? It was for man to be alone. Perhaps God was only talking about Eve, but given how relationships (other than our spouse and kids) can affect our physical and emotional health I think a solid argument could be made that God was talking about even more.

So here’s the question: Does anyone in your life have refrigerator rights?

You can stop there, but I’ve also got a challenge:

Make 2014 the year that you give someone (or someone else) refrigerator rights. But because your key relationships are the things that have and will impact you more than anything else, choose wisely.

Last year I found out that I made a huge mistake in this area. I have a great friend and he and our families share refrigerator rights. In the past we’ve bathed each others kids, made sandwiches without asking and know each others kitchens inside out. In fact, anytime I visit with them, I know they’ll have Coke even though they don’t drink it – they stock it for me.

The mistake was that I only have one friendship that is like this. When they moved, I was left with no local refrigerator rights. I miss this. I need this.

You need it too.

So, if you live near me, if you attend Life Bridge church, I might want in your refrigerator. I might want to connect with you more deeply.

But will you let me?





About the Author

Jesse and his wife, Teri, will celebrate 20 years of marriage in May of 2012 and are raising two growing sons, Kevin and Alex. After moving from the DC metro area in 2008 they adopted a mastiff named Book and slobber became a way of life. In his spare time, you may find Jesse enjoying photography, biking, or simply watching a movie or reading. Jesse is a graduate of Cohort K from Bethel Seminary’s CFM program and serves as the Children and Family Pastor at the Evangelical Free Church of Wauconda.