My Best Friend
This is probably my first real friendship in the Lord and has taught me what Christ is really trying to accomplish through our relationships. It is the most beautiful friendship I have had yet, and I do not mean this by the world’s standards of what a friendship is. I do not mean that we finish each other’s sentences and we have the same taste in music for example. I mean that we have been through some of the most trying times one could expect a friendship to go through and have remained firm in one another’s lives. We have loved each other the way that people never expect to be humanly loved (at least I feel that way on my part) and have failed one another in such a way that we have wanted so badly to give up on being friends. What has kept us strong? Honestly I’d imagine that it is the fact that Christ has always been the center of our enjoyment. I know that I’m bragging a lot but I can assure you that Christ is the one who will be brought glory through this and that is my motive. We have not seen each other in many months now but I am still so grounded because of the things I learned from the seasons when we were close.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
Nyomie is just about the most meek person you will ever meet. She has no intentions of hurting anyone. She is sweet, light, and full of Christ’s gentleness. I am also gentle natured but certain experiences that I have had, have left me extremely guarded and at times defensive. I am one who often wants to hurt the person who hurt me, not necessarily because I am vengent, no. It is simply a mentality of survival. I was taught that this is how you protect yourself. You must teach people not to hurt you and they won’t, but if you stay silent, well, that’s so sorry for you. You will be doomed to a life of being taken advantage of.
With Nyomie it is not so. To let her care and trust enter into my heart was, given my history one of the most brave choices I could have made. It softened my heart and reshaped my entire perspective on living. This is because she bore me in love. It just so happened that she met me in a time of my life when I was wounded and overwhelmed by the baggage of past hurt and disappointment. We were originally drawn to one another for the light of Christ that burned so purely in each of us, and we therefore felt that being intentional about hanging out together would be essential to keeping our foundations steady. Unfortunately, I found so many things wrong with her. I expected her to meet so many of my needs, and she couldn’t meet them at the time. She was not as intentional as I am, so I often felt like I was giving more than I’d ever receive and I was not concerned at all about hiding my frustrations. I made very pointed comments that would sting and I often aimed below the belt.
Truth be told, she was more upright than I was at the time. Although I was godly in may ways, I found myself being attracted to so much of the world, and so naturally when I was around her condemnation seeped into my heart, tormenting my conscious. I just felt like an ugly creature when in her midst and so I made sure that when in my presence she could feel how small she was. If I didn’t have anything, I had more knowledge about the world and the way things operate, and so I let it show. How else would I maintain my dignity?.
But She Bore Me in Love
Brothers and Sisters, this is the cross that we take up when we love our friends; it is that we bear with them in love. Hurt in friendship is inevitable. I hate to say it. It would be an entire year before I learned to treat Nyomie as she was worth being treated. In the mean time she was faithful to tell me hard biblical truths that grew me and built me up where I was torn down. She saw my heart before the days of bliss came in our friendship. Her patience developed a deep sense of compassion in her heart, for people in general, not just for me. I must tell you that she is so beautiful now and is swelling with patience for difficult people. It is not that she never hurt me. She hurt me many times, but she never forfeited her cross by giving up on what God was calling us to do, which was to remain friends. It is so marvelous that we are still friends! I am sure that by now you can see why I love her so dearly.
Why am I writing this? I am writing this to you dear reader because you have options. There is no scripture which obligates us to remain in difficult friendships, but there is so much tenderness and gratitude (attributes of our God) in those ones that are characterized by faithfulness to God through the testing. This means that if the Lord has given you a vision for friendship with a particular person, or if he has brought them into your life and his sovereignty constantly arranges for you both to be in each other’s lives, then obey him. These relationships bare so much fruit!
Dedicated to Nyomie: Although the seasons have changed, you must know that you were such a critical aspect for my growing in Christ! I love you.