Them and Us#6. “Friends that are yet to be.”

Them and Us#6. “Friends that are yet to be.”

We all know people who struggle to maintain lasting friendships. It’s not that they necessarily lack family or brethren around them, it’s that they lack the ability to develop meaning and depth in any relationships. Given the nature of the church, such individuals will always enjoy the attention of those who make sure that everyone’s social needs are being met. But since friendship is a reciprocal arrangement, such interactions can remain superficial for years. Sadder still, are those who assume that there is depth and meaning in those superficial relationships. If they have not fostered friendships before hard times descend, there may NOT be a “friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

I have attended funerals of the friendless. With surprising consistency family and brethren have “half-jokingly-half-seriously” hinted at their attempts to break through the barriers that made intimacy impossible.

Tolerance is a virtue that must be expected in the Christian community. After all, where would we be if God suddenly ran out of patience with our unfriendly ways? Thus, tolerance stands as one of the pillars of Christian virtue. Without it our relationships lack moral strength and eventually fall over. And since the friendless often have ways that are hard to overlook, then tolerant we must be!

For those of us who are basking in the glory of our lifelong, close-knit friendships, we might want to remember that every closed society ends up devouring itself.

Jesus has designed the church to be a haven for the lonely. A place where those who are out of step with the world find their real family—those whom “Jesus is not ashamed to call brethren” (Hebrews 2:11).

“For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son” (Romans 5:10, NLT)

We want them to be too!

John Staiger

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