This has been something I have really struggled with for some time now. I have been very reluctant to express my feelings & thoughts about it, because I worried so badly about how non-believers would take it.
But you know what? It’s the truth, and what kind of witness am I to God’s grace if I can’t share the truth.
Those that are that internally bitter will pick apart whatever is posted (even is its rays of sunshine) you get it!
I have many “friends”….. facebook says I have 659. I remember when I was so excited to reach a hundred Like…”do I really know a hundred people?”
Lets talk about friendship vs. acquaintances
- the emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends.
synonyms: relationship, close relationship, attachment, mutual attachment, bond, tie, link
1. a person one knows slightly, but who is not a close friend.
synonyms: contact, associate, ally, connection, colleague
So, you see…. real life friends….I have few. I mean, like relational friends. The ones you can hang out with on a Friday night, or call when you’re having a bad day, when you’ve totally failed at parenting, or even show up at their door after 4 months and still feel at home…those kind of friends. and not one of them, do I attend church with. Not One. My absolute bestest friend in the entire world isn’t even a christian, and yet she has taught me so much about love, forgiveness, grace and second chances than anyone I know. She is always there for me, and loves me regardless of my craziness.
I belong to a congregation of about 600-800 people and I am that kind of friend with none of them. Oh sure, we are “friendly”…we say Hi, we comment on eachothers fb statuses, we even support their small business, we probably even call ourselves friends…..but we never hang out, not individually, not as couples, not even as groups, we never have an evening of laughs, or nurture each others soul outside the four walls of The Church! I’ve tried getting closer, attending Sunday school classes, or small groups, and other church gatherings. But still no developed friendships. and it hurts. It hurts so deeply that it has even hindered my relationship with Jesus. So I whined, I pouted, I moped, I felt sorry for myself…..and then I grew up, and got over it. Because that’s not really why I’m there!
Some might ask…..Why attend that church then, when there are so many others?… Because I feel that’s where God wants me. and I believe 110% in my pastor and his chosen staff. He isn’t just like a pastor, he’s sort of like a father figure. And along the many churches I have attended, I have never had that kind of pastor. Some are gifted preachers, some are gifted evangelists, some are gifted as administrators….but he is different, he is genuinely gifted in all those areas, and more.
People are cliquey, and caught up in themselves, and their busy with life, and careers, and really just don’t prioritize the importance of true friendship. Even church administration is that way! One person comes in, a friend follows…one goes out, and so does the other.
But isn’t it like that every where we go? Have you ever put in that “good word” or “gotten” your friend the job? Of course you have! We all have!! It used to be how the auto factory industry ran. Isn’t High school or the workplace the same way with certain “circles” of people. Sometimes you’re in the circle, sometimes you’re not. It’s human nature I suppose. And guess what?
Christians are Human. Church people are Human.
If church was full of perfect, sinless people, then we wouldn’t even need church!
That’s the beauty of God, and Gods grace. We can Be human, because it’s really not about Us.
So…get. over. it!
The truth is we all need church, we need that fellowship (even if it is just within those four walls) we all need solid biblical teaching, but most importantly we all need grace. Grace that only comes from Him. Grace that is extended to all who will receive it.
Now go forth and find a friend