Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Grace needed.....

Do philosophical differences mean we can’t be friends? Do our closest friends have to think exactly as we do? Is there room for diversity and difference of opinion, or does that preclude a friendship? I am struggling with this. I can’t be a robot. I can’t think like others always want me to think. My opinions count, and that shouldn’t make someone hesitant to continue a friendship! Do I get written off for one thing that seems wrong to someone else? And how do you mend a rift once it occurs? The world isn’t black and white, why should friendships be? Should friends be cookie cutter versions of who we are, or people who challenge us, debate with us, disagree with us, but love us unconditionally anyway? And once a problem surfaces, does it have to be insurmountable, are we suspect and mistrusted forever? Life is messy. We are human. We lack common sense at times and make missteps and mistakes. Friendships should not be deemed unworthy because of it……


A said...

Wow, lots of good questions.

I'll throw my .02 in with some generic info. I've found these things to be true in ANY relationship, whether it is with family, friends, acquaintences, church folks . . . etc.

Relationships have to enjoy some common ground. However, mature people/relationships can find room and grace to disagree about even significant things, as long as there is that area of commonality within which the relationship can move and grow. Problems occur when people confuse the two, or are incapable of leaving any areas of difference alone.

I have some great friends with whom I do not agree with in every position, philosophy, or idea. We just know what things are "in bounds" for discussion and which are "off limits." That isn't to say that there aren't people that hold opposing views with whom it is ok to have honest, intellectual debate and still like each other afterward. Everyone just has to know and agree to the ground rules ahead of time.

I think Christians sometimes are incapable of having real relationships with non-believers because of this inability. Yes, Jesus is the most important part of my life, but He isn't for everyone, and I can still have something significant in common with someone who doesn't know Jesus.

Of course, life and relationships are not clear cut and the lines aren't black and white. We live in the smudges. But hopefully there is enough maturity and grace to give each other the benefit of the doubt and have the relationship based most significantly in the common areas that two people share.

If someone is incapable of managing these concepts, the friendship may not have been as solid as we might have thought. Or, we might need time and patience to let grace do its thing.

Christine said...

Looks to me like this entry is about convincing yourself that you believe something that has merit, is a solid belief...., um, how's that coming along?

Crumbie makes a good point or two on the above comment~ relationships that have opposing views within need some maturity and grace to cover all that over.

And who in the world do you have in your life that is telling you you can't be friends with someone who isn't just like you?

Tell 'em in the most loving way possible to go suck an egg. You can be friends with anyone God calls you to befriend, even if it doesn't make sense to others.