This post is entirely personal. No authors. No Scripture. Just a little reflection on life. And, in this case, authentic relationship.
A friend of mine was honest with me yesterday. They told me that a telephone conversation we’d had the other day had been difficult for them. I knew it had been but hadn’t known what to do about that.
It wasn’t a personal conflict kind of conversation; it was more of a discussion about the appropriate church response to something. I couldn’t have not said the things I did because they were true and I had an obligation to voice them for the sake of other people. And my friend knew that – and I knew they knew that. But we also both knew that the conversation was hard for them because of an underlying situation.
I’d joked on the phone that we should have been having the conversation face to face in Starbucks. Actually, we really should have.
You see, yesterday we had that face to face conversation about how they had felt. And it was so easy! When you are face to face with someone, you can see their heart and the enemy cannot use your own hurt to destroy the relationship. And my friend knew that and was prepared to admit that they had felt hurt – for the sake of having a clean slate in the relationship.
I love friends who have that kind of bravery. There aren’t many of them about, but if you find one, don’t let go! You see, what happened yesterday might not have looked like much, but in reality it was our salvo into the enemy’s camp. It was our statement together that our friendship is more important than any hurt we might inflict on each other. It was our determination that we are going to believe the best of each other.
It struck me afterwards that to believe the best of someone is a discipline sometimes. We all annoy and hurt each other sometimes. But we can each make that discipline of believing the best a little bit easier if we will humble ourselves enough to have authentic relationship – to admit when we are hurt or have hurt the other; to share the fears as well as the joys, the struggles as well as the successes.
Although authentic relationship takes work, I think it’s a channel of God’s grace in a way unlike any other. So, what about you? Who do you need to forgive today? Who do you need to go to and admit that you have been hurt by them, even where that is not objectively their fault? What relationships do you need to start valuing by showing complete honesty?
The triune God is, in his very essence, a relational God; we are made in his image to be relational beings. Do you need to start working on developing authentic relationships right now?