It’s a summer day right after a rain storm. My car is cruising down 24, my sunglasses resting on my nose, and music up just a little louder than usual. There’s excitement in my heart as I’m on my way to the airport to pick up an old friend. Couldn’t tell you the last time just her and I hung out together. Years I would say. She’s not just any friend… she’s a friend worth fighting for.
We met in college. Both new to the school, both looking to get away from something, and both a little awkward. I was the short hair, lots of makeup, midriff showing type. She was the innocent, country, quiet type. From two different states, two different backgrounds, and both searching for something different. Without expecting it, we instantly hit it off. I remember sitting next to her on the first day in chapel wondering why she thought puffy headbands looked cool. She was probably wondering if I would ever stop talking and why I tried so hard to be cool. But as the years went on we grew closer and closer together. We lived together for 6 years and went through every tear and every laughter. She introduced me to places of stillness, and I most likely was the cause of any rebellion on her part. 😉 As time went on, I fell in love with a boy named Mike. She stood with me through the ups and downs which lead her to standing beside me when I said “I do”. We were inseparable. And then everything changed.
Life moves on. People move on. Mike and I moved to Tennessee and she moved to Pennsylvania. We still kept in touch and made sure to stay apart of each other’s lives as best we could. I traveled the U.S. while she traveled the world. Life then took us by surprise and it started to become harder and harder to keep in touch. We had separate friends and separate lives and before we knew it.. we really didn’t feel like we knew each other at all anymore. She began confiding in a mutual friend rather than in me. I would hear about her experiences through other people and I started to grow bitter. I was basically frustrated at her for not keeping in touch with me the way I felt she ought. I felt like I just lost one of the closest people to my heart and didn’t know how to process that. And here is where I was left with a choice. Do I allow the bitterness and pride to keep me from reaching out? Or do I fight through the feelings of wanting to blame and just be honest with her? I went for a couple weeks without doing anything. To be honest, It kinda felt good to hold something against her. It kinda felt like I won and she was missing out on my amazingness. 😉 (Ah hem- sarcasm in case you didn’t catch on.) So I wallowed in the bitterness for a good while until I felt it eating me up inside and the Spirit led me to fight for her.
James 3:14- 18
” But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
I couldn’t allow the bitterness to rot my bones any longer. So I wrote her an email. I explained my frustrations, my hurts, and the confusion as to why we ended up in the same room but with no words to say. I told her that even though my life was different, I still wanted to be someone she could call and confide in. I apologized for my selfishness and jealousy towards her friendship with other girls, and I asked if there was any way to rebuild what we had lost. She felt the distance between us too and from then on we fought through the awkwardness and started afresh. We called each other even when we felt it was forced. We texted just out of the blue. We asked a lot of questions and then it all led up to this past weekend where we both felt the walls were all down, the awkwardness had hidden away, and our friendship was refreshing and intimate once again.
Dan Allender was quoted saying this- ” The two things that destroy intimacy the most are when we blame and when we hide.”
I have had a lot of friendships crumble and cease. Some just because we grew apart and it’s a part of life. However, there were some that were lost because the root of bitterness and jealousy planted itself in the middle and kept us from not only each other, but from experiencing redemption in the midst of letting our pride fall. I have had friends wrong me and hurt me and I was too bitter to forgive. And I, myself, have let my selfishness get in the way of admitting when I was wrong and in need of forgiveness. Friendships can be hard and bumps along the road will always come. So when you face that friend in the midst of confrontation do you blame and hide or do you take your eyes off of yourself and let the bitterness take no root in you? Do you treat them better than you would treat yourself? Is there a friend that you need to forgive? Or a friend that you need to make peace with? Is the Spirit pressing you to be honest and vulnerable with someone even though it’s hard? Whatever the case, we are all sinful and we all in one way or another will hurt each other. But if we can see past ourselves and our entitlements- by God’s grace alone we can step forward into a true intimate and life long friendship. It’s one step closer to understanding our friendship with God and it’s definitely worth fighting for.