This weekend has given me a lot to process.
Several people from my church family met with an organization from Virginia, called 3e restoration, that works with people living through homelessness in their area. They taught us a lot about the mindset of people dealing in those situations, and educated and equipped us with things we can do to help them.
But most of all, they taught me about how to be a friend. Actually, it was more about how to be a Christian human the way that Christ showed us and called us to be.
And man, is that hard.
It’s hard because the foundation of a lot of my relationships is based in reciprocity. It’s more than the “if I do this for them, then they will return the favor” kind of thing. It’s, “I’ve been honest, open and vulnerable with them, so don’t they owe me honesty, vulnerability and openness too?” And I find myself navigating relationships wondering if the girl I texted yesterday is ignoring me on purpose, or if she really is just busy like she says she is. Trying to play the passive aggressive games in an effort to maintain a comfortable friendship that avoids any real, honest conversation because it could lead to open rejection and loneliness and pain.
And I think I’ve played the games of passive aggressive behavior, of competition and wall building because I don’t want to be hurt. I think the biggest point I learned this weekend is that I will be hurt. Every relationship I have is a possible chance that I will be lied to, manipulated, hurt, rejected. There is not a guaranteed protection against that. Because even Christ’s closest friends rejected him. He was hurt, and lied to, and people tried to manipulate him. By those he loved and by those who loved him.
But his identity was not found in those relationships. It was not found in what he could bring to those relationships. His identity did not hinge on whether or not his was rejected by those he loved. His power, his worth was not defined by whether or not he was successful as a rabbi or a healer. Those things were defined by the fact that he was God’s son and that God instilled within him the worth of an heir, the identity of a prince.
And that worth has been given to us. Through the grace of Christ’s blood that covers us with the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. We are heirs to an inheritance we already have. We are children to the Most High King of Kings. There is nothing left to prove. Our worth, our identity has already been proven. We don’t have to be successful. We aren’t called to be successful. We are called to be faithful. We are called to wake up in the morning and go at it again, embracing the daily mercies and grace that God gives to us, our manna to get us through our day.
That changes things. It changes the way I see my relationships. It’s not about impressing others. It’s not about having it all figured out. It’s not about having it all together and making the right decisions. Because if that was what it was all about, then I have already failed.
Here’s the truth. I’m going to fail you. I’m going to disappoint you. I’m going to have to ask you for forgiveness, probably repeatedly. I’m going to mess up. But I’m going to keep trying. I’m going to stay stubbornly attached to God. I’m not walking away. And I want you to walk with me, in this renewed way of relating. I need people to keep me accountable, to affirm me, to challenge me, to build boundaries and enter into relationships of honesty and humility.
So who’s with me?