Thoughts about Relationships
Saturday Morning, February 26, 1994
The desire to have Understanding of how Jesus desires that we think and feel and act... on the topic of “best friends” is always important. Because of the magnitude of emotions relating to our basic instinctual desires for love and affection, and our disdain and fear of “loneliness” or rejection, this topic will always remain dangerously important... for us, for our children, in any legitimate expression of Christ Jesus in His Church. So, this (originally “internal” to the local assembly here) is forwarded on for those of you that desire God’s Highest and Best.
“Best Friends”—Close Relationships in His Kingdom
There have been times in many people’s lives (people in the world as well as within the Elect) when they have striven for, or found, a “best friend.” I mean that in the natural and obvious sense: this special friend is the main person in their life... the one that they look to in time of crisis, the one they are confiding in, the one that they are likely to be with at any given time, the one that they find the most pleasure in as a companion. Is this a bad thing or a good thing?
Parts of this are fantastic! Done correctly, it can be a spectacular gift from God! Aspects of that kind of relationship are precious and we can be grateful to God for “kindred spirits” and more. (In the major part of the church world where there is often much compromise and too little reality, special relationships are a miracle from God, many times. A close friend in that far-too-typical sort of environment is often a lifesaver and sanity check that is worth more than diamonds and rubies!) However, there are some very important things to watch for, if there is someone in your life that you would consider a “best friend,” or someone that is far more likely to be involved with you in your every-day life than any other single person.
Are You Ready?
If you are THE person anyone confides in, or THE person they feel “most comfortable with,” or anything of the sort, then some things do need to change right away. (Others around you are likely to be more unbiased in their assessment of this than you would be of yourself—as Paul said, “if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.”) Will you unselfishly move to higher ground spiritually? More often than not there are roots of self-love and insecurity that can cause us to cling to our “right” to having a “bestest buddy in the whole world.” A sister mentioned to me recently that, it seems to her, women (or even little girls) are prone to wanting and running after (or falling into) “best friend” relationships far more often than most males. WHY you have evolved into this type of relationship is an interesting question to ask yourself. Let’s examine some of the pitfalls, spiritually, of an unhealthy—the wrong kind of—“best friend” relationship.
For starters, most of us have been on the outside of one of these things at some time or another as well. Only a few privileged ones, clothed in all of the social graces and with personalities or talents that make them permanent insiders, have missed the experience of being an outsider. It’s painful. To willingly, as a disciple of Jesus, inflict pain or erect any unnecessary barriers between yourself and others, or your good friend and others—this saddens God’s Spirit. Our God “sets the lonely in families.” How sad to do the opposite by making anyone feel like a second-class citizen... on the “outside looking in.” Our close relationships, even within our own households, are to serve God’s People and give them a welcome home. “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him—as you have helped His People and continue to help them.”
No matter how convinced we may be otherwise, if you are THE person in another’s life (in the sense that you are the one they’ll talk to about this or that, seldom others, YOU are the one privy to their hopes and dreams and desires and dislikes or complaints)—you are causing them to stumble, and, in addition, you are excluding and harming others. God will not allow you to build this way forever. When the people in Genesis 11 thought they were of such oneness that they could do anything, God came and confused them and left them unable to communicate. And the building stopped entirely, with great pain. The time will come when God will, if He loves you, bring chaos, confusion, and pain into your relationship that has usurped Him and His People. And you’ll lose the precious thing that could have been. It’s far better to do it His Way!
Another sad aspect of the “best friend” scenario, “the” focal point and confidant, is that you are far, far less able to hear God’s Voice when it might be time to move on to other relationships or, perhaps, to be sent out with other saints to another city. If you are too “comfortable” because you have built a fortress for yourself in flesh and blood (or allowed them to do so with you), you will not be able to hear God. The relationship MUST stay on the altar at all times, if God is going to be with you.
Practically speaking, there is great poverty in the wrong kind of “best friend” relationship. Just as it tends to, unknowingly of course, isolate us from others, it also robs us of access to all of God’s Gifts. If my habit, due to an improperly built “best friend” relationship, is to “always” tell so-and-so first, or my knee jerk reaction is to run to so-and-so with news first, or to cry on so-and-so’s shoulder, or to ask so-and-so how to go about doing something in the Kingdom... this “tradition of man” nullifies our ability to hear God! (Mat.7) Instead of asking God who we should go to for “equipping for works of service,” we have a “tradition” of handling it in a particular way. This usurps God as God! It also cuts us off (and others) from drawing on the gifts that He has placed in His church, with resulting poor fruit. Can you see it? May it never be. Please do NOT get yourself so comfortably into a relationship that you cannot hear God, or don’t even think to ask Him what He desires in the decisions we make. How should I spend my time? If you have an “automatic” place to go or person to be with, you are lacking in your relationship with God and giving away your future. As well as robbing them of their future in Christ. The traditions of men still nullify the voice of God.
I know how easy it is at times to find comfort and security in the wrong places. Find it in Jesus? Ok?
P.S. Great relationships are GREAT! Just be sure, please, that you are pointing each other forward and upward and outward, not towards each other as an end in itself. And launch each other into other relationships, rather than clinging! YOU don’t have all the gifts of the Body, nor do they. Don’t rob each other by being narrow for selfish or naïve reasons? THRUST one another outward, if you really love each other in Christ, rather than selfishly. OK? A recap of the problem of predictable relationships? They are exclusive, and others are unknowingly left out of the magic circle. God sets the lonely in families. Also, it becomes nearly impossible to hear God when it’s time to move on, if we have found *identity* in a relationship. In addition, we can’t hear God day to day, drawing on His choice of gifts, going to those of *His* leading to share our lives, when the “traditions of men” have become ingrained and expectations are built into the pattern on both sides. And, lastly, but very importantly, the wrong kind of relationship harms our relationship with God as we find too much security somewhere other than in Him.
May God grant understanding and wisdom, and grace, to all that *live* to love and serve Him. Finally, let me repeat, so that no one reacts wrongly, Great relationships are GREAT! Great relationships are GREAT! Great relationships are GREAT! Great relationships are GREAT! Great relationships are GREAT!