The Friendship Project
"But he wanted
to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?'
It was a room full of nearly strangers, barely friends-until
that day. I asked the ladies to stand as
I read from a list of life experiences. If they had lived through one of the
descriptions they stood up. One by one, sobbing women rose to their feet as I
read the list. They were family in name
only - a family of believers from the same church gathered together for a
women's retreat where I was the guest speaker.
Twelve women stood together when I asked if anyone had had a
miscarriage. One woman had buried a spouse. Five came from unbelieving homes.
One had lived through marital infidelity. Three had escaped relationships where
they had faced verbal, physical or sexual abuse. Three ladies had struggled
with depression. The list went on and on. By the time I had finished, every
woman in the room was standing.
We were knee-deep in one another's junk, and yet I had never
felt closer to a group of women. As we closed the session I asked them to share
more about their stories at their individual tables. As I surveyed the room,
women who had been strangers only minutes before were huddled around one
another, embracing, sharing and weeping. God was knitting hearts together. It
was a moment I'll never forget.
I am realizing that women of all walks of life crave
friendships. And yet so many of us feel that we are lacking meaningful,
authentic relationships. How is it that a church full of women with a common
thread of faith are not friends? Worse yet, if we aren't friends, can we hope
to offer authentic relationships to those who enter the doors of our churches
I fear the answer is "no, we can't" unless we
change and make a few necessary sacrifices.
Recently I've gleaned some life lessons from the story of
the Good Samaritan. In Luke 10:30, Jesus paints a not-so-favorable picture of
the religious and respectable. I wonder if He would have the same indictment of
our churches today? The priest was seemingly too busy to befriend the one in
Can I be honest? I am regularly guilty of this sin. Before
and after church my husband and I busy ourselves with the work of tending to our
children, and doing the business of church. I move past people who are hurting,
but I don't stop with my busyness to see their needs. I rarely get off my
horse. I am the priest.
The Levite rode past the hurting man too. Perhaps he felt he
was too clean to get dirty in the messy business of grace and mercy. Helping
the man in need would have made the Levite ceremonially unclean. He wanted to
preserve his position and place.
Let me do a little more truth-telling. I don't usually want
to get knee-deep in other people's junk. If I don't get into messy
relationships I avoid having to deal not only with my own junk, but other's as
well. So I don't get off my horse. I am the Levite.
Here is the problem. Real relationships require time and
transparency. If we want to move from being casual acquaintances to genuine
friends you and I will have to share pain and joy in an authentic, sacrificial
way. I believe this, but for right now it's just theory.
I'm curious. What would happen if we covenanted together to
get off our high horses and got into one another's junk? I wonder if our
churches would explode. I wonder if lives would be forever changed. I wonder if
the Church would shed a little bit of its reputation of hypocrisy.
Want to see what would happen? Let's resolve to change lives through friendship. Let's
slow down. Let's share our stories. Let's get knee-deep.
Dear Lord, give me eyes to see those in need around me, and
give me the courage to respond. Father, I want to be a part of life-changing
friendships by offering grace and mercy. You call us to love others as
ourselves. Help me obey this all-consuming command. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
The Friends We Keep: A Woman's Quest for the Soul of
Friendship by Sarah Zacharias Davis
Visit Whitney's blog today.
Traveling Together: Thoughts on Women, Friendship and the
Journey of Faith by Karla Worley
Join Whitney's Facebook group The Friendship Project for
more details about this campaign
How can you simplify your Sunday routine to allow more time
for building relationships?
With whom can you share part of your story in hopes of
offering encouragement and hope?
Do you have genuine, edifying friendships? Why or why not?
Are you reaching out and developing new friendships with
those in need around you?
Luke 10:27, "He answered: 'Love the Lord your God with
all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your
mind"; and, "Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (NIV)
Luke 10:33-34, 36-37, "But a Samaritan, as he traveled,
came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to
him and bandaged his wounds...and took care of him... 'Which of these three do
you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?' The
expert in the law replied, 'The one who had mercy on him.' Jesus told him, 'Go
and do likewise.' (NIV)
By: Whitney Capps
© 2010 by Whitney Capps. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries