Are friendships supposed to be complicated? I believe the answer is “no” and yet somehow they always seem to be even in the smallest of ways. When we were children, friendships were so simple. Either someone wanted to play with you or they didn’t. There was no guessing whether someone was really your friend because you knew that if they said that they would meet you on the playground by the swings and they did, well then that was a friend. On the other hand, if they didn’t, well, then you would just talk to another friend swinging nearby or wait until next recess to meet someone else. Childhood friendships are pretty clear-cut.
Now as adults we are taught to avoid taboo subjects in conversations to make everyone happy, such as politics and religion. Is anyone really happier by avoiding these subjects? How can anyone really share who they are as a person if they cannot share their most personal thoughts on those subjects? Now apply those same “rules” to friendships but expanding a bit.
Do you ever find yourself avoiding certain subjects to maintain a close friendship; trying to make everyone happy? Is anyone really happier by avoiding these subjects? How can anyone really share who they are as a person if they cannot share their most personal thoughts on those subjects? I’m talking about subjects like how you raise your kids, personal style, how and what you spend your money on, even how you choose to grow in your relationship with God. –That last one surprises me the most.
Within the body of Christ, it shouldn’t matter if one friend chooses to grow their relationship with God differently than you. When I say differently, what I mean is more or less time in the Word or different prayer styles, different worship styles, different ways of communicating with God. We are all walking a path at different rates and yet somehow within friendships we forget that we all need to extend God’s Grace to one another.
Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (NIV)
Grace. That really is the key. To be living “Politically Correct” within close friendships begs the question, “Is this a close friendship?” Can we remember to extend grace in conversations towards one another?