A few weeks ago, I received a call from a good friend who was very upset. Apparently, another ‘friend’ of hers told her that she was not a good friend. She did not give me the details but I could understand how what was said upset her. It brought up some very negative emotions about herself. It also highlighted how lonely she was.
Ironically, the night before I had written in my journal how lonely I am. Come the end of November, I will have lived in this town for two years. During that time I have met a lot of people but almost none of them have stuck. There is only one person I could classify as a friend.
Part of this is because I still haven’t really found a home church. Then COVID hit and I couldn’t go anyway.
When I say I am lonely, a friend tells me I need to connect with all my friends from where I used to live, reach out to them more. Unfortunately, that is not the same thing. A chat over messenger or even a Zoom call is really not human connection. At least for me it’s not.
I need to meet someone face to face, within a couple feet of each other (or 6), where we can chat for hours but feels like 10 min. I need conversations that are less about our problems and more about our experiences, our ideas, our points of view on life. I want to have in depth conversations (or arguments) about the Bible.
I want a person(s) who is willing to meet up on a regular basis to have Bible study (not a facilitated meeting but to learn from one another’s opinions and experiences) where our thoughts can be expressed freely (perhaps with the odd swear word or two) and not be judged. Where we can be real and have real conversations using every day language.
Why is it so difficult to find that these days? Yes, some people may not like the swear words. But last year I wrote a post on friendship and things have not changed much with me since then.
I think one of the issues is people are afraid to truly express themselves. They are so afraid of being judged. I guess I am, too. When I meet new people, I am very conscious at first of what I am saying, the words I use. It feels like I am at work where I am aware of the political undertones of the environment all the time. It should not be that way with friendships.
Another friend said something in relation to this recently. People want his opinion and he is honest and will give it to them. Then they get offended by what he said, though it is truth, and imply he is not a good Christian because he hurt their feelings. If the honest answer is based on fact or opinion, then he is not responsible for your feelings. And it is either he speaks his truth or he has to lie.
Jesus talked about the Truth all the time, knowing He was going to offend people, especially the Jewish leaders. Even when His disciples asked Him questions, He did not spare their feelings but told them the truth.
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.Luke 22:24-30
Did you catch that one phrase? “But you are not to be like that.” Jesus is telling them the facts, the truth. He is telling them that they will have little authority in their lives and will be servant for the rest of their lives, until they get to Heaven.
If you were to tell a friend, with deepest sincerity that they will never reach their dream of running the company, how would they react? They would most likely be offended. And I am sure that we all have that one friend that no matter how nicely we were to give them constructive feedback on something, being completely truthful, all they will hear is the criticism. And get offended.
During His years of ministry, Jesus was always honest about what He said. He did not care who He offended. Some days I wonder if Jesus said certain things just to rile up the enemy.
I am a person who prefers being honest. Blame it on my personality type (INFJ, #8, High D – depending on which one you want to reference), but I will take your feelings into consideration and be careful on how I word things. At the same time, don’t be offended if what I say, which is usually based on my opinions or facts, hurts your feelings which are based on your perception of things.
Can we please start being real and honest with one another, and not so easily offended? If we can’t be honest with those who say they love us then what is the point?
Do you have people in your life that you think you can’t be honest with, not truly honest? How can you change that? Or do you feel like you will have to walk on egg shells around them for the rest of your life? Share examples of how sitting down and being truthful with someone really helped your relationship? Also check out this past post about the difference between feelings and emotions.