Be Still Know
1 Peter 4:8 NLT
‘Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.’
When I it comes to making, or perhaps more importantly, sustaining friendships, my efforts can be disastrous! I was recently asked to compile a short video for someone about to retire following a very effective ministry first in the UK, and subsequently in the USA. I met him while at university and had perhaps the most productive years of my ministry life working alongside him at his generous invitation. I felt close and yet there was a painful season when I felt unable to accept an opportunity he offered me. Here I failed by refusing the organisational offer, yet could not find the courage to tell him directly. A period of distance and pain developed between us, yet I eventually wrote, apologised, and we recovered our friendship, I think at a deeper level.
Our working life was ended in part by the discomfort it caused to colleagues, and in part as he looked for a fresh initiative. This took him to America and I was unable to follow even had I wanted to, since I was caring for Katey. Now my question: was the friendship real or was it built solely upon the positive ministry outcomes it created? Very quickly the communication and connection faded. I visited when I could, yet the closeness wasn’t there. I had changed, we were changing; friendship is either only ever seasonal or purpose-driven. Such thoughts still form a substantial part of my inner reflections.
Finding a love for another that is sincere, that is without pretence or ulterior motive, that is about the other more than it is about me, is challenging. Yet, Peter states only then do we cover each other’s backs and offer a practical response to our inner commitment to sin. It has no redemptive power per se, yet it does acknowledge fractured humanity and creates a safe environment within which we can learn both confession of sin together with the advice and encouragement to turn from such sin. These are the sort of friendships I need and seek.
QUESTION: What regrets do you carry, with regard to friendships?
PRAYER: Humble me, that in all my friendships I may seek the good and best for others.