Have you ever been pretty annoyed or irritated by an issue and you’re pretty sure that no one around you is comfortable either, but you all suppress the urge to address it? The more you suppress it the more it bugs you and consumes your thoughts, especially if you’re anywhere near it and the people involved… almost like there’s an elephant in the room.
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Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Love
Welcome to Wednesday’s Word. Grab whatever you are having for your break and come on in and join me for what I pray will be a knot-tying time for us! Don’t forget that strand of faith, because friendship has a lot to do with our faith!
The last several weeks, there are two struggles that keep running into me, or should I say I keep running into them in my journey: Conflict and forgiveness! Ugh, sometimes I just want to blow right by them like I would an unseen stop sign. However, when I take the time to stop, HE never fails to grant me a new lesson, a new revelation. Granted, there are times I think, why do I always have to be the one to change? Well, because God has granted me the courage to know that the only one I can change is me! The illustrations He gives, the lengths He goes to in order to bring me through this lesson victoriously are…well, simply astounding!
Have you ever watched children in conflict? There is actually something to be learned by observing their struggle with innocence and their juggling of their little cups of pride that spill out onto the one they are conflicted with or by. There is this sort of bittersweet thing about them as they wiggle through their own frustration.
My grandchildren amaze me…fill my heart with so much love I never thought I had and at their young age, they teach me more than I thought I needed to know. When I watch them struggle in their childish conflicts, I realize that they still have a blanket of innocence around them that comes out after a few minutes of struggle and helps them to get over conflict so much quicker than you or I!
To watch children wiggle and wrestle with conflict is to witness the ingredients to what it takes to live out Colossians 3:12-13 which tells us “to put on tender mercies, kindness humility, meekness, long suffering, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against the other, even as Christ forgave you, so you must do.”
Let me try and paint this picture verbally: At one of our grandson’s birthday party, there was a little girl whom he was in conflict with and as the party progressed, this girl, who by the way little B says “She’s a girl and she’s a friend, but she’s not my girlfriend” J – rather aggressively demanded her way continually.
At first he ignored her; that didn’t work. Then he tried appeasing her; that worked for a New York minute. And then as these things didn’t accomplish her desired goal, the conflict escalated and they began to sort of toss their point of view across to the other in hopes that the other would catch it.
But then, a burst of innocence would happen and one of them would stop it with a hug, or a simple “I’m sorry,” and the conflict was over. All was forgiven…until the next time she, or he, didn’t get their way, or the other felt slighted or ignored and not special and then the tug of war began all over again.
His other grandma, whom my heart loves, and I were talking about it and she called them “frien-emies” and that stuck with me; you can’t be an enemy unless you’ve been a friend first!
Think about it; we aren’t nearly as hurt or offended by a stranger’s behavior as we are by the behavior of one whom we love or care deeply for. Why can’t we be more like children, and get through the conflict with a simple “I’m sorry”? Why does it seem to require so much more as we get older?
Maybe it’s time to consider the value that that frien-emy brings to our life…and if there’s more conflict than caring, maybe it’s time to evaluate the amount of space they take up in our hearts without paying rent…
True transformation can only happen with another and that’s the value that a friend brings!
P.S. I’d like to wish one of my very best friends Janine Andriese Peace a beautiful and happy birthday. Love you so much, you amazing lady of God!