We have chosen community over isolation. Discomfort over comfort. Inconvenience over convenience.
The way of the cross is a lonely road. Jesus walked it. He could identify with those He walked with, but none could identify with Him. He was misunderstood and no one stood with Him at the end of His road. He who was such a good friend, died alone.
Love is honest, truthful, challenging and kind. Jesus preferred truth to popularity. There was nothing in Him that didn’t love. Even when He spoke the uncomfortable truth, He was love. His love was unchanging.
Since when did we choose unity over truth? So much “Brother, brother let us love one another,” and so much compromise with it. The love we are called to chooses truth first.
Do we love enough to speak the truth? Do we love enough to confront sin? To strengthen weakness? To speak about irritations? To talk about unhealthy stumbling blocks? Do we value our friendships enough to take the risk? With that risk, the deep hope that our friendship will go deeper and become stronger.
Why are we so edgy, so sensitive? Where is the toughness of spirit? The meatiness of emotional muscle? Why at the first, tiniest bit of uncomfortable truth, do we crumble and feel unloved?
Why do people feel rejected when challenged even in the gentlest of ways? Confrontation is not about rejection. Confrontation is for growth and change. If we reject confrontation we remain small. Weak. Immature. If we receive it, and all the love that comes with it, we will grow up. We will be disciplined. We will be strong.
So many believers are edgy. Being with them is like walking on egg-shells. We feel we need to tip toe and keep everything soft and cushy. The slightest bit of difficult truth and we don’t see them for weeks. Or, they disappear without a trace. Without a goodbye. Without an explanation.
Overly sensitive people live behind an invisible wall. People keep their distance. They know they can’t get too close or say too much. They choose their words carefully and avoid subjects that may cause an upset. They watch for a change in facial expression. That is the sign they have stepped over that invisible line. They have no idea when that may have been.
Super sensitive people wonder why people don’t engage with them. Why their growth is stunted or change is so slow. They have no idea their prickliness is keeping people away.
Is it possible they were not raised that way? Were their parents the “free spirit” types who never pulled their kids up on anything? Let them do their own thing, their own way? Never challenged them about their behaviour or manners or how they treated people? Didn’t love them enough to prepare them for the toughness of adulthood? Let them manipulate and dominate every relationship that came their way? Never confronted their weaknesses and sin?
“Iron sharpens iron.”
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”
Reminded of this: When difficult words are spoken, listen for truth.
People may come and go. They may want to walk away from me, but we’re not going anywhere.
Friendship for us is like marriage. We are in it forever.