Faith and Friendship: Hand-n-Hand

August 23, 2018

 

My faith is in Christ. Anchored in a promise of salvation.  What good is an earthly friend who cannot achieve even a fraction of the fulfillment that is satisfied by a perfect savior? Friends are imperfect. They are human beings composed of both Adam and Christ. The tendencies of our imperfect friends are shared by our imperfect selves. We all lean towards Adam. Adam, who is selfish. Adam who deflects blame. Adam who gets angry and who would abandon you in an effort to save himself. Adam. Imperfect.

 

Do you want to know the truth? You can’t handle the tr….sorry wrong blog. The truth sweet friends, is that your loved ones will break your heart. Friends may leave us feeling entirely exposed. After 20 years of friendship you may be blind-sided by the news that you have grown apart. Priorities have shifted, unlike interests develop, new people are introduced and so on. Suddenly, you watch the bottom fall out of the foundations you were convinced you knew so well. The familiarity of these friendships has comforted us for so long that the feelings of separation are unbearably betraying. The love we have preserved for these “do anything for” friends for years is rapidly depleted by the inescapable grip of animosity. You may become so blinded by your own pain that you grant yourself an unjust allowance to tell the story of the hurt they caused you time and time again until the world knows only of their Adam. What a shame that would be. How sneaky is the Devil? The ultimate thief. It is only with your permission, albeit by way of distraction, that a love created by God can be destroyed. Maybe we would all be better off pursuing our faith alone to avoid being hurt and causing hurt, right?

 

Wrong. Actually, impossible. We have a need created by God to be relational. A solemn pursuit of faith would mean we would have to forgo the soft landing of love while overlooking the awe of His grace. Among the greatest challenges of friendship is the dependency we place on our friends that actually belongs to Christ. In a world where we are constantly bombarded by noise in all forms, it is too easy to accuse God’s silence for absence. We cannot hold our friends accountable for withholding information they never had. We are so compelled by the notion of immediate satisfaction we grow increasingly uncomfortable in silence. However, lessons are learned best when it’s quiet. When we have the opportunity to think. Our friends do not have the answers we so desperately seek, but they can lead us back to the key when they see us stray from the path.  In order to create meaningful friendships, we have to be wiling to wrestle with our inclinations of Adam routinely. We have to actively reach towards Christ. Each of us is battling sin. We are required to make our friends mercies new on Tuesday morning despite their Monday evening’s transgressions the same way God does ours. Remember, these friends who have broken your heart are the same ones who sat in silence on the cold concrete with you in the middle of the night as you mourned the greatest loss of your life so that you knew you were not alone. Or maybe that’s just me. Friends will share in your triumphs and forgive your shortcomings. Your sins. Given the chance, your friends will cause your heart to swell, as mine have, in every glimpse you get of Christ through them. Every sincere correspondence. Each unexpected text of encouragement or reminder that they are praying for you.  Subtle confirmations reflecting the consideration Christ has for each of us. We have a need for friends.  Although they are broken as you are, as I am, how much easier is it to cross a gap by a bridge? Shared experiences good and bad brought together by Christ. Companions to walk that narrow way. How special. Treat it as the divine gift it is. My most prized possessions have been preserved by salt and light, perhaps the same will be true for you. You are so loved. 

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