emergingfree

Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “friends”

Betrayal From A Known Place

Have you ever disowned someone you loved, someone only months before you would fight for?  I have.  I could write story after story about broken relationships—things you would relate to—but I will spare you those narratives.  There is another point-of interest that captures my attention, an area of prayer where I am growing.

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!”  Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.  The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.  Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”  And he went outside and wept bitterly.  —Luke 22:60-62

At the end of every year I review my relationships, particularly those with people I consider friends.  Several years ago, I discovered that I had developed a particular pattern with a “person”.  Each year, this “person” would change, but every year I would meet someone during the same part of the year.  We would be close from the jump as if we had known each other before, but by the year’s end we would not speak.  Isn’t that strange?  How could you be so close and within twelve months be so far apart?

peace

Once I realized that this happened year-after-year, I began to spot this “person”.  This awareness helped me in that at the end of the year I would note the situation causing the breakdown, but because I knew it would happen I was prepared for its occurrence.  The emotional sting I felt in preceding years was no longer there.  I simply moved on, never considering that that person would care enough to mourn.  Now, I am reconsidering my stance.  (Pray for me.)

Rest

The reality of life is, no one is perfect.  People will make mistakes straining relationships with even their closest loved ones.  I have made mistakes.  You have made mistakes.  We all have made them.  This understanding, however, leads me to my point of reconsideration.  Jesus knew Peter would betray Him and therefore prayed for him.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” —Luke 22:31-32

Admittedly, there were many years when I identified this “person” and failed to pray over our relationships.  (Note, to pray for the “person” is different than praying over the “relationship”.  Both are necessary.)  This pains me really, but I thank God for growth.  I first had to learn to pay attention to divine relationships.  Then, I needed to understand how vital it is to constantly pray over them.  We have work to do!  In truth, nobody is happy about divine relationships being damaged but Satan.  Ah, but I have found the blessing in knowing betrayal from a known place so I will do better.  Will you?

Relationship Differences

Relationships, I never took them lightly;  Now, I am not sure if I can take them any more seriously.  Associations are the difference between life and death.  Who wants to LIVE?  I do!

Friends

Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.  Luke 22:3

As a child, it was vital that I believed that my friends cared about my life.  As far as I was concerned, family –well– I was stuck with those people, so even if they got shady we would still be connected but friends –well– I could drop them and keep moving.  There would always be new friends to meet, right?  There are always people looking to laugh and have fun.  There are always people looking to connect.  Friends are just a hello away… or so I thought.

Without knowing it, I developed a hard-line habit of emotionally and (sometimes) physically detaching at the first hint of me questioning a friendship’s reliability.  Rarely would my friends question my change in behavior.  This lack of concern confirmed within me my right behavior.  Life went on.  The cycle continued.

Thank God for growth and grace!  As I began to understand me more, I began to understand what kinds of people I wanted to grow with.  As such, the more I understood my spiritual gifts and talents, the more I began to understand what kinds of people I needed to grow with.  I began to understand the difference and importance in having divine relationships versus those which are also great but are in fact spiritually secular.  (Note, sharing the same faith is not the lone criteria.)  I needed to find peace and clarity with knowing that there are numerous personalities and people who I can have fun and laugh with, spend time and play with, work and relax with, but divine relationships are appointed to build God’s kingdom and advance His purpose.  I needed to commit to live my faith with the people God assigns to sharpen me and I them for His purpose, one greater than us.  The more I stand in agreement with this, the more I find myself consciously and continuously praying for clarity and protection regarding these sacred relationships, as well as over myself.  Why?  Simply put, I believe.

Listen, we pray over people we do not know.  We pray over things that are transient.  We pray over solutions to problems and for cures to diseases and over prayer lists and over our churches and over our church Family, yet how many of us pray over our divine relationships?  How many of us know the differences between divine relationships and secular ones?  Note, there are differences.

Satan will try to enter anybody and anything following the Lord, even one of Jesus’ Twelve.  Make no mistake about it.  He will try to enter me and he will try to enter you.  Spiritual warfare is real.  We must do better with our journeymates.  A temporary distraction can lead to irreversible repair.

We Are Family

Remember when Sister Sledge sang, “We Are Family”?  That song always made me happy because I had an idea of what family meant and that mental association filled my spirit with joy.  Like so many others, as I grew older I expanded my definition of family to include friends.  Friends disappointed me though.  Such disappointment reminded me that family is family in fact, not contingent on how I may feel.

One day, I found myself in another environment which challenged me to redefine my concept of family.  Yes, one day I was entering a church building and someone referenced me as a Sister.  Up until that point, I was not in the practice of identifying other Christians as my Brother or Sister.  Initially, I frowned by these labels because outside of Sunday sanctuaries, these same people fell significantly short when compared to the behavior of my biological family and really close friends, who were my family.  It took some time, but I began to understand what Jesus meant.

Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother. “  —Mark 3:35

Friends

These days, if someone identifies themselves as a Christian I take notice.  I want to know if we are Family, so I pay attention to their traits.  Truth is, for me being around family is fun and I am always open to meeting new relatives.  It makes no difference if I see my family members often or not, the love that exists in the security of knowing that we are bonded through blood creates an unspoken fort of protection.  It creates an environment where we can relax, be vulnerable, and love without fear of being taken advantage of or of rejection.  We cheer, challenge, and assist each other to higher heights.  Jealousy does not exist amongst Family.  We understand the concept of being blessed by association.  The unity we have is reflected in the verses Sister Sledge sang:

Ev’ryone can see we’re together
As we walk on by
(FLY!) and we fly just like birds of a feather
I won’t tell no lie
(ALL!) all of the people around us they say
Can they be that close
Just let me state for the record
We’re giving love in a family dose

What a powerful image: FAMILY.  Either we are, or we are not.  Differences in our denominations, our complexions, our languages keep many sanctuaries segregated.  These things become distractions, keeping many Relatives apart and diverting many away from one crucial question, “Are you doing God’s will?”

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