Questionable Comrades

Beck was asked by his mom if he’d let her wipe his nose to get rid of the boogers hiding in there.

“My booger wants to stay in there. He’s my buddy, and he wants to sleep in there.”

Beck makes friends easily. His warmth and humor lead him to talk to anyone he passes. Most are kind in their reply–kindness begets kindness, and his grin is contagious.

Not everyone wants to engage. There are always those who don’t want to interact with someone they don’t know and don’t want to know.

Friendships are part of the fabric of life. We’re made to connect with one another, living collaboratively so we might learn from, help, and enjoy each other.

We also thrive on the encouragement of other people, and we each have a need to be held accountable by those we trust. Real friendships are based on honesty and authenticity.

My friend Debby in Ohio has known me for a long time. We have a history together–we were both parents of young kids going to the same church and hit it off quickly. We commiserated over childhood illnesses, we hung out when our husbands were traveling, and we poured out our hearts to one another when no one else would listen.

We’re very different, but our differences made for amazing adventures and honest conversations. She didn’t let me get away with my wild exaggerations–I tend to speak hyperbolically. She’d call me on my less-than-accurate responses, and we’d laugh over all the topics we could cover. I never questioned that she was on my team, that she had my back.

I’ve had people in my life that I thought were friends, but something went awry. An unexpected disagreement got out of hand. A misunderstanding that couldn’t–wouldn’t–be rectified.

The worst was someone going behind my back to talk about me to others. Encouraging words of affirmation are one thing; gossip that questions my character is another issue.

The Bible speaks a lot about the issue of gossip and argumentative people, much of it found in the wisdom literature of Proverbs.

“Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops. A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.” Proverbs 26:20-21

“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and gossip separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28

“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” Proverbs 11:13

People who don’t respect the character of those they call friends can lose sight of what’s important when disagreements happen. Because they will happen; we’re all different and don’t deal similarly with situations. Maintaining kindness toward others and believing in the best of others is work. In an age of sound bytes and canceling those who disagree with us, having honest disputes with hopeful reconciliation may sound impossible.

When Jesus was asked which command was most important, He said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-38

We need to learn to reconcile our issues. In love.

Beck made a friend out of his booger; his mom disagreed with his decision.

Small issue.

Maligning others with our words not only hurts others but us as well.

What are your friends worth to you?

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