Fearless Friendships: What You Must Remember

The offer was terrifying, but I couldn’t figure out why. My long-time friend told me years ago that I should meet her sister. Apparently, her sister and I have incredibly similar mannerisms and an outrageous sense of humor.

On many occasions my friend has said she thinks her sister and I may have been separated at birth. This has been an ongoing discussion for 18 years.

Time Marches On

Now, a lot happens in 18 years. Think of where you were 18 years ago. Most, if not all, of us were in a totally different stage of life then.

Looking back over the last 18 years of friendship, my friend and I have experienced many life changes and challenges. Some years we’ve lived close enough to provide hands-on support.

When we lived far apart, technology allowed us to stay connected. Like many long-lasting friendships, ours has been characterized by highs and lows, laughter and tears, and changes that have required us to adapt or adjust because that’s what friends do.

We hope that those who know us best will be willing to adapt, adjust, and accept us as we are . . . the good, bad, and ugly. However, that great hope comes crashing down when trusted friends betray our trust or refuse to wade through hard stuff with us.

The pain and isolation that often comes with betrayal can rock our worlds. Buried pain changes us . . . it doesn’t disappear . . . it remains very much alive in every human, hurt soul.

One of the Enemy’s greatest weapons is unresolved, unhealed pain. It keeps us . . .

  • Distracted
  • Afraid
  • Negative
  • Self-focused
  • Easily embittered
  • Short-tempered

We tend to . . .

  • Blame
  • Isolate
  • Become sarcastic
  • Often adopt a bitter, victim mentality

Additionally, we exhaust others by focusing on what happened to us instead of running to Jesus (who was thoroughly betrayed). When our focus is set on self-protection, we forget how transformative it can be to work through pain.

Closed Quarters

Years ago, I experienced the loss of some trusted and valued friends. It was a devastating, dark season. So much so that I buried the pain instead of talking through it with my long-time friend.

After that dark season years ago, I chose to believe I didn’t have time for friends. I told myself that friends took time and energy I didn’t have and caused problems I didn’t want. (See how our thinking can get distorted?) Instead, I invested in my work, new marriage, and growing children.

My loved ones observed that I was closed to connecting outside the home. Funny thing . . . I never thought my resistance was noticeable. I was consumed with investing in those I love and the work I was doing—great reasons (excuses) for not making time to reach out.

The Offer

Back to my long-time friend who faithfully extended herself on several occasions. Her sister—my “twin”—was finally coming to town after 18 years. Would I go and meet her? Talk about being conflicted.

As I drove up to my friend’s house, they were both standing at the door with open arms, giggling with delight. Truth be told, the video of us meeting is extraordinary. Exactly as they said, our mannerisms, humor, body language down to head and hand movements were so similar.

I swallowed hard and stepped into the space of inner conflict as best I could. For a few hours, I was reminded of the power and value of friendship—something of eternal value we all need and are called to as a community of Christians.

Christian Community
(Image from Pixabay)

Open Hearts, Open Minds

I don’t have this all resolved, but for the first time in 10 years the door of relational pain has been opened. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all map to follow; it’s uncharted territory.

In recent weeks, God’s Word has called me again and again to examine how I love, forgive, and care for those I am in relationship with as He models throughout Scripture.

There isn’t a one size fits all; we certainly are not to bury our feelings but to work through them as God leads.  I’ve turned to the Lord who is the One who heals our hearts.

He understands betrayal, loss, rejection, and deceit. He also calls us into community; to come together, welcome differences, embrace one another as we walk through this life.

I close with Paul’s words to the Galatians:

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

(Galatians 5:13–15; 6:1–2, 10, emphasis mine)

Let Me Hear from You

Whether you have been the one to reject and judge or the one rejected and judged, we are all called and commanded to follow Christ’s model of grace and peace.

For those who have judged, it’s time to make things right, to humble yourself and seek forgiveness.

For those who have faced judgment, it’s time to face the pain and walk into the sorrow. God promises to help and heal those who call to Him.

For the whole Christian church, may we seek to understand one another. May we remember harmony is the result of different voices and tones resounding in unison together.

Will you come with me on this path of healing? What is God calling you to do today? Let’s connect this week.

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