Have you ever been hurt or offended and wanted to run to a friend for consolation and even some grumbling about this person who disgruntled you? Who made it to your top three to-go-to people list?
I’ve been in this situation for countless times and just about every time, I find myself looking for “non christian” friends I can blab to. So “unchristian” of me, is it not? But just what my best friend told me a few days ago – so much of these labels. On a side note: it’s a good thing my best friend and I have known each other way back before we became super christians, (oops there goes that label again!) so that makes her one of my to-go-to people, always. So I took some time to reflect on the reasons why I find it rather comforting to reach out to my non-christian friends and why these same friends seldom come to me for advice or talk.
Here’s a passage from the Scripture John 11:32-35:
When Jesus receives the news that his dear friend Lazarus has died, “When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother [Lazarus] would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. ‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked. ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied. Jesus wept.”
Jesus wept — the shortest verse in the bible with the biggest, most literal emotional picture of Jesus. Have you opened up your heart to a friend and have this friend end up crying with you? We all could use that kind of friend / friends : those who would truly feel and relate to your experience and just stop telling you scripted “christian” replies like “I’ll pray for you” or worse, quote you a scripture!
If we are to be truly Christians, I believe what we need to do is follow Jesus’ example. We need to acknowledge the emotional state of the friends who come to us for comfort and invest emotion in them as well. This is not the time to quote scriptures and ask them “what would Jesus do?” or give them remarks like, “it’s OK, it’s all about God after all” – if you do not stop being ‘too Christian’ around your friends, you will most likely never have them reach out to you.
Just a few days ago, I got offended by a tactless remark made by a fellow christian in church, and just how I would normally deal with such offenses, I counted to ten, told Mike about it (he was also offended by the remark) and told some of my accountability friends about it just so they could reprimand me if my reactions go overboard – they didn’t. Some friends had a very christian approach on it while some totally shared my emotion and even got hurt for me too – guess who I ended up sharing more of what I felt to?
Reflection: How do I usually respond to friends who come to me for comfort about current issues they’re facing? Is my being “too christian” getting in the way of making deep connection and relationship with my friends, thus, hindering me from actually winning them for the Lord? After my friend/s and I share a moment of consolation with each other, do I find them calling me back when they face another issue?