Over the course of life there are so many friendships we experience–some are an amazing source of love and grace and laughter on this bumpy road of life and some leave incredibly deep wounds.
If you decide to take a few moments to contemplate old, expired, and difficult friendships be sure to take along a big bucket of grace to dump over the entire situation.
As you survey your lifetime of friendships, a few may stand out. The painful friendships are precious in their own way–maybe the relationship didn’t survive but hopefully there were some lessons learned by both parties. It is tricky business to have two people in relationship with one another because everyone has their own issues. Believe me, I have mine and I am willing to bet you have yours. Those frictional friendships often help us understand more about ourselves if we can step back and look at them with an introspective eye. (I know, introspective eye sounds a little weird). At any rate, sometimes a big chunk of time might need to go by before you can look back at a friendship and consider what was going on there. If you find yourself wondering to a time period with a painful friendship, I pray you are willing to see God and His perspective and be able to experience His peace.
Since the tornado of 2005, the Evansville area has had a lot of weather warnings. It isn’t always easy to distinguish between the thunderstorm siren and the tornado warning siren but since we are generally home, I don’t stress about it. I can check the tv, radio, or weather tweets on my Twitter account.
I don’t mind these warnings because they are important. They cause me to stop whatever I think is so important to do and pay attention. The community warning is general and it is up to me to heed it and respond appropriately.
Why is it so much harder to take a behavior warning from a friend? Would you really want to hear it from a stranger?
Have you ever been in a position when your course of action was not in line with what you professed to believe and someone noticed and actually risked your relationship to mention it? Oh boy–not very fun at all. I have been on the receiving end of that type of conversation. It is so tempting to excuse and explain and justify the behavior. I think the best course of action is to listen to why your friend is concerned and possibly just receive the info and consider it without defending it immediately. Mull it over. Is the concern justified from their point of view? Just listen.
And what about when you are noticing someone sliding down a slippery slope? Oh what a difficult and risky conversation to have. Prayer, pray, pray about the conversation you think you might want to have. When someone is bound and determined to sin, they are often not willing to listen to a concern. Remember to examine yourself first. How have you been behaving lately? What are your motives? Do you have the type of close relationship with this person that you each are agreeable to being help accountable?
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:13-15 NIV
Where are you likely to be enticed? Take stock of your friendships today and consider inviting someone to be your accountability partner in an area that might be an easy temptation for sin. Be vulnerable but use discernment. Invite someone you trust to pray for you in your areas of concern. It is much easier to set up these types of close relationships now when things are going well. And think ahead about how you might receive a warning. Sometimes they are the difference between life and death.