Monday, September 12, 2011
Pain in the offering.
Friendship. We are under the illusion at times that friends should be people whom are easy for us to get along, our minds work the same way, we laugh at the same things, we cry over the same movies, we parent our children the same way, we enjoy the activities and generally, it comes with ease, other than the small tiffs that are quickly made up.
I am here to tell you different though. The friendships that challenge you, are the ones that bless you more, make you a better person and change lives.
I have amazing friends. Not everyone of them is a person I personally would have chosen to be close friends with. However, God told me to pursue a friendship with them anyway.
We came from different walks of lives, our temperaments are at odds with each other, according to many experts and often with have little in common.
What we do have to common is this: We are created, human beings made by a loving God, whom knows each of our names, whom knows the number of hairs on our heads, who knows our innermost beings and loves each of us, more passionately than a mother loves her child.
This draws me to one conclusion. That every person we encounter, each made in God's image, can teach us more about God, and that every person is worth spending time with and getting to know. No matter how hard it is, how much it hurts and how confusing it can be at times.
Being true, life - long friend requires brutal honesty, sharing our hearts, our lives and becoming vulnerable. Which inevitably means, a friend, has the tools, to bring you much pain. Someone you do not care about, who you have closed out from your heart, whom you have put walls up to stop them getting too close, cannot hurt you the way someone can who you let it.
It also means, that when you are close to that person, you will suffer their pain also. When two minds and hearts, are tuned it, the level of empathy and compassion runs so deep.
It takes YEARS to cultivate friendships, a lot of trials and tears.
When you first meet a new friend, it's like the first year of marriage, in some ways. You are filled with excitement, it's warm and fuzzy, it's exciting, you delight in having a new companion to share with and to tell stories, you connect with.
Pretty soon, one of you fails the other, and you FALL. Fall hard from the pedestals you put each other from.
It hurts. Your dreamy, wonderful friendship is in ruins.
I entreaty you though. Don't give up. Don't walk away. No matter how much it hurts to work through it. Because when you get through this first hurdle and all the ones to come, your friendship will become richer and more vibrant than before.
When you embrace the things that are challenging about a person, their weaknesses, their failures as well as their talents, gifts and strengths. This is where beauty is found.
Beauty that in how Christ loves us, we love our friends. God died for the very people who despised and crucified Him.
Beauty in walking with someone as they battle the darkness in their lives, speaking love and truth into their lives even when they have nothing to give you in return.
The beauty when you, feel weak and unlovable, and a friend comes and sacrifices time and tears to serve you.
Lately I have experienced some topsy turvy friendships, where it is somewhat harder in the beginning, because the way we communicate, think and feel is at such different ends of the spectrum, that even understanding each other in the beginning is hard, and somewhat painful. You kinda wanna give up and invest yourself in a friendship that has an easier and quicker feel good factor.
Don't give up on these relationships. Don't litmus test people and decide whether or not they are worth your time. These are the friendships that often, transcend all reason and understanding, and bring true glory to God.
The people whom are your polar opposites are the people that challenge you to challenge yourself.
The people whom at first it seems like you always misunderstand each other and accidentally hurt each others feelings - when as lovers of Christ - we battle through the pain - there is joy to be found.
I entreaty you... let Jesus sanctify you through friendships. Even when they hurt. For there is pain in the offering, but the joy my friends, that is found, is worth every single tear.