I recently said to one of my best friends, while commiserating about life, “Standing together is so helpful. Even when we lose, we don’t die.” We laughed about how non-encouraging that was. But as I’ve thought about it more and more, I actually am encouraged.
There is something about being in relationships of love and steadfast commitment that is very grounding. It’s deeply comforting to know that even if you aren’t perfect, there’s someone who loves you. We all need these people in our lives. Now, we know we will never love perfectly and we know we will hurt each other. But it is possible to approach our friendships with this kind of heart toward the other – and find it reciprocated back.
In order to do this we need to know when our friends are struggling and just need to be loved. We need to know when they feel like they’ve lost and just need to know they’re not dead.
The best way, I’ve found, is to be brave and go first. Don’t wait for your friends to come to you when they’re struggling. And don’t wait for them to ask how you’re doing. Ask them. And share with them. We have an epidemic of partial-sharing. Social media allows us to kind of get some stuff out. But we NEVER share the fullness of our pain through social media. We need a safe place – a relationship or two – where we know that no matter what we share, it will be returned with love and support. That doesn’t mean we don’t ever need confrontation from our friends. But it does mean we need to know that even when we might have lost at something, we are still alive. We can still keep going.
That, after all, is the Gospel. Even though we are dead in our sins, yet Christ has made us new in Him and has defeated even the power of death. Thanks be to God.
Grace and Peace,