We usually think of 'courage' as referring to knights fighting to defend a castle, soldiers fighting for God and country, or the super hero working to protect Earth from yet another mean villain. Those are all forms of courage at the highest level. But what if I told you there's a form of common everyday courage that we are invited to participate in each day.
"Friendship is not for the faint of heart" is one of many quotes I have highlighted as I processed through Lisa-Jo Baker's new book Never Unfriended. As no two people are ever completely alike, there exists the adventure of figuring out likes/dislikes, introvert/extrovert, personality types, family background, communication style, etc. With so many variations, it is inevitable that at some point there will be misunderstanding, hurt feelings, or unmet expectations given time.
The question is, what will we do when that happens? Will we resort to living in a cave of isolation due to our friendship PTSD? Will we never conquer our fear of being the new person, that we never courageously attempt new community? Will we allow the Enemy, Satan, to keep replaying that bitter moment in our head like an old song stuck on repeat?
Those all sound like simply sad endings to a movie. One where you hold the tissue box and end it feeling bummed as you watch the hero pack away his cape, never to fight again.
Friendship takes courage. It also takes mercy, forgiveness, communication, and a commitment to the other's best interest. But last I checked my supply tank, I don't think I have enough to go around. What then?
The premise of Lisa's book is that we don't have to muster up the courage all on our own like a puffer fish gulping down seawater to make itself look bigger and less like prey.
We can friend others.....because of Jesus.
Jesus is our living example of the best friendship. He constantly pours mercy and forgiveness into me, and He wrote me a book to communicate his thoughts to me. And that dying on the cross? Yah, that pretty much is the top example of courage and a commitment to my best interest. There is nothing in friendship that He calls me to, that He didn't experience Himself. Betrayal? Got it. Misunderstanding? Tons of them. I said HIS communication was great...but I can't say so much for some who heard him.
With Jesus, we are Never Unfriended. He doesn't do the leaving. We do. ( but that wouldn't be a good idea)
He gives us the mercy, the forgiveness, the commitment needed to courageously continue in friendships through bumps, misunderstandings, and awkward situations.
It'll take courage. It's worth it.
Cause we'll never be unfriended.....