Taking Off Mask Friendships
Making Space for God friends, how many of you are struggling with a relationship? I suspect each of us has an extra grace required relationship that we are praying about. But I have another question to ask: In what ways have you invested in this relationship?” Over the years I have learned that relationships require an investment of time and that the benefits are invaluable.
Recently my grandaughter and her friend came over and I had so much fun listening and watching as they interacted with one another. I caught them in the pool with their phones…
Is this their idea of spending quality time– both together texting their friends? So much has been written about the technological age that we live in and the impact this has on relationships. I do not feel the need to go there except to say that genuine relationships require face-to-face time listening, laughing, crying together. There is not a living breathing person who does not need to have healthy relationships. We were designed that way. First with God and then with others. When Elohim God created humanity, He deposited in each of us the desire to love and be loved.
Which brings me to my main point. You and I are either building pseudo friendships or real, take-off-mask friendships. The choice is ours. But the benefits of true vulnerable mask-off relationships are worth the effort. And it does take effort. It is much easier to hide behind our phones.
So let’s talk about how to build authentic relationships. Here are a few things that I have learned over the years:
- Real relationships are built on listening to the other person. Paul writes that we are to consider others above ourselves. Part of doing this requires that we lay aside our desire to be heard and instead be willing to listen.
- Real relationships are built on mutual respect for one another. Your differences need not define the relationship. What defines the relationship is a common desire to be open, honest, vulnerable and respectful.
- Real relationships require making choices to be available or not. This one is particularly difficult for me because my schedule tends to get in the way. But that is no excuse. It may only cause a delay in getting together.
- Real relationships require a willingness to be forgiving and to ask for forgiveness.
- Real relationships are built on the foundation of Christ’s love for us and until we fully know that we are unconditionally loved by Him, our relationships will suffer.
It’s time that we make space for God through our friendships. Our Christian faith is cannot be worked out in a vacuum. Jesus had his inner circle of friends; James, John and Peter. He had the wider circle of friends in the disciples. He even loved Judas as His friend, though Judas betrayed Him. Make space for God’s love to saturate your heart and invite others into your life knowing that we are designed for community.