I’ve been hurt, betrayed, and abandoned. I’ve had friends slander me and assume the worst. I’ve simultaneously craved relational intimacy and spurned it.
And I’m not alone in this. So many of us are maintaining surface level friendships, longing to go deeper, to unveil who we truly are and connect with those who love us, flaws and all, but fear of rejection continually gets in our way.
Can I just say, I get it. I understand your longing to be known fully and loved deeply, to find those people who not only get you but promise to stay.
I also know the fear that comes from past hurts. We all have scar tissue, and this distorts our perception. Makes us leery and self-protecting. So we step into new relationships with our running shoes on, ready to bolt at first sign of conflict.
But that only perpetuates the problem, adding hurt upon hurt, defensiveness upon defensiveness. Loneliness upon loneliness.
What if we did this whole friendship thing differently? What if we determined to stay? To push through the hard—to be the type of friend we ourselves long or?
On the night before His death, Jesus gathered His disciples together, and after having told them about all the difficulties that lay ahead—persecution, imprisonment, execution … He prayed that “they would be one” just as He and the Father were one. (John 17:21, ESV)
That’s deep, enduring unity—the kind that goes well beyond the casual friendships so many of us maintain.
To develop the type of unity Jesus prayed for, we need to love as He did. Less than twenty four hours before his execution, He washed the feet, an act normally performed by household servants, of Judas, the very one who would betray Him. Then, shortly after His brutal death, Jesus intentionally sought out Peter, the friend who’d denied and abandoned Him.
His love for them wasn’t dependent on their actions to Him. And He didn’t hold grudges or nurse wounds. When there was a rift, like with Peter, Jesus took the initiative to make things right.
That’s hard, especially when we’ve been hurt, but its oh, so necessary. If we don’t learn to do this, to press through the hard and hold tight to one another, we’ll never experience the deep connectedness our hearts long for.
The next time conflict arises and you’re tempted to self-protect and run away, press in—first to Jesus, and then into the friendship. Learn to hold tight. To work through the hard, surrendering your hurt and heart to Jesus, as you learn to live Wholly Loved.
And if this is an issue you struggle with and an area where you’d like to learn how to walk in deeper freedom, then join us for one of our upcoming Bold and Brave Conferences. You find out more HERE.
You can register for our June conference (at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Lincoln on June 23rd) HERE.
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