“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” –Jesus, John 15:12-13
In His Word, God calls us to love one another (John 15:12-17). He also calls us to unity, members of His very Body (Psalm 133:1-3; John 17:22-24; Ephesians 4:1-6). He calls us to be reconcilers (2 Corinthians 5:16-21). And in all these things, He always points us to Jesus as the example (Philippians 2:1-11).
But what about when relationships go wrong? What do we do when a once amazing friendship begins fading away? Or when a friend constantly lets you down? Or when your deep confidence is carelessly betrayed? Or when “I love you” is said many times but rarely displayed through actions that are meaningful to you?
And why do these questions seem to eerily hit the mark for you right now?
Come out, Come out Wherever You Are
Okay, it’s official: You realize you’ve been hurt by your once trusted friend. What now?
Well, since speaking the truth in love is always what God calls us to do, honesty is still the best policy. So what’s getting in the way? His unwillingness to hear? Her unavailability? Or is it really your fear? Fear of being misunderstood? Of being unliked? Of being unfriended? Of being on the outs with the group?
You’re all big boys and girls, so I’ll shoot straight: We’ll really need to get over ourselves if we’re going to love other people well.
Love is not self-seeking.
Love is not conditional.
Love doesn’t keep a scorebook of all the wrongs that have occurred.
And love isn’t easy; love requires risk. You have to put it all on the line, to be vulnerable. (Okay, say it with me… Vul-ner-a-ble… That wasn’t so bad… Right?) Even when you don’t know how. Even if you don’t know exactly what’s wrong. Even though you may suck at communicating your feelings and the mere idea is enough to make you break into a cold sweat. Even when you want to run away and hide, seeking the nearest set of fig leaves and travel sewing kit.
Now you know exactly how your forebears, Adam and Eve, felt.
Letting Go of the Mask
But before you protest and say, “It’s not that big of a deal…” I must ask…
What are you so afraid of?
Relationships are not for the faint of heart. They require commitment and are worth fighting for. They may not be easy, but God seemed to think it crazy important. Like, enough to cross space and time and give up His only Son to reconcile with us. Enough to then call us to do the same supernatural work, empowered by the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:9-11).
So I must respectfully say – stop it. Stop pretending that it’s okay. Stop minimizing your hurt. Stop hiding behind your mask.
We can all still SEE you.
We know something’s up, and you’re acting really weird. And now, you keep holding up this bizarre mask to your face wherever you go for some reason…
Come on. This game’s no fun for anyone.
Come on out from hiding and into the light.
Stay tuned for Part 2 – A Faithful Friend: Communication Station