Relationships - Part Two

September Story

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[dropcap]I[/dropcap] would say I didn’t have my first real friendship until I was late in my teens and even then, the ones I had took a bit of work, but those that took work have stood the test of time. They were the ones where I knew, not just their likes and wants, but their hearts.

The change happened soon after I became a Christian. I believe something happens in the soul that when you give your life to God, he gives you his Spirit and he begins remaking you. He starts to root around exposing the good and bad alike. These revelations about your new self can be overwhelming, so I do not think it strange that the Bible tells us to, “Carry each other’s burdens, (Gal 6:2)”, “encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thess 5:11),” and also, “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other (James 5:16)”

Since I began to approach friendships with this idea, I found them to be deeper and stronger. It seems a lot of work to carry others’ burdens. I know we all have a sense of responsibility to bear our own trials, but that’s not how God made us. He made us for community and for friendship! Our burdens can be physical, emotional or mental and they can all be shared. Now, we shouldn’t BE a burden, but that’s hard to do when you are helping lift other’s burdens and acting humbly.

Say the good things! Sometimes it’s just as difficult to give someone a legitimate compliment or encouragement! I have become very impressed with people and the more I’ve learned to encourage and compliment then, the more they continue to outperform! I try to be deliberate as well by writing a letter or taking them aside just to tell them how great they are and what I believe God sees in them. God loves us so it’s not wrong to tell others the good we see in their lives!

Lastly, it’s a big ask, I know, but practise confessing your sins to one another. It doesn’t have to be to an entire group, but the Lord is good to provide one or two mates who are also following the Lord, to whom you can lay it out. It’s a very counterintuitive idea to put your weakness out in open air, but that is what helped me the most in my walk. There’s an overwhelming relief in knowing you can lay your sin and pain, not just in front of God, but also another human, and more, that they still love and respect you. And not only that, you now have an ally and compatriot with whom you can seek holiness.

A friendship of encouragement, correction and confession is life-giving and fulfilling. Because God is constantly doing work in our lives, it’s good to have people about you letting you know where and how they see God working. Don’t afraid to get your hands dirty. We are all the Church and we are all building in the same kingdom.

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