The Hardest Friends to Have

there are ‘friend requests’

there are regular see often friends

and there are faces I know or have known and I hover above the request button wondering if I should press send

and the ones I see irregularly, you know in supermarket isles and other places

and there have been words left unsaid for so long that it seems hard to go back to the place and say them now, like searching for a scar from childhood chicken pox – it’s there somewhere but will finding it and revisiting it even change anything now?

The friends or lapsed friendships with people who’ve I’ve let down

and isn’t it so much easier just to keep moving and make the new friends who think you are funny, who have seen the ‘show reel’ of your life and are currently impressed, who like your style… the ones whose birthdays you haven’t forgotten, the ones whose phone calls you’ve managed to return, the ones who you haven’t had an all out disagreement with or said that awful thing that hurt them so personally….

those friends who you’ve let down, who’ve seen you at the worst of your worst, and weren’t married or related so didn’t have to stick around, those friends who’ve challenged you about your behaviour, who’ve told you that you hurt them….

those are the hardest friends to have but given grace and humility and forgiveness – on both sides of the fence

those can be the best of friends

the ones whose acceptance is complete but who will not be complicit to allowing you to be less than you can be

those with whom you cannot fake perfection because they have so clearly seen your imperfection

it’s humbling to stay relating to the ones you’ve hurt – harder I think than the ones who have hurt you – because you have no upper hand you are simply an imperfect person who is trying to love them the best you can and are sometimes too selfish to even try that hard.

but oh the sweetness of their encouragement when they can see the good despite the bad, and they can, in abundant grace, share that with you – not because you deserve it but because they are generous

may we all have those hardest friends and may we all find strength to extend radical grace to others remembering perhaps (in my case anyway) that that line is much shorter than the line up of those I’ve let down.

those friendships are the picture of the sweetest grace that says
even though you denied me, 
misunderstood me 100 times, 
fled, 
couldn’t stay awake with me when I was totally downcast, 
even though all of that and more, 
you I will call my friends, 
you I will give my peace, 
and you will be my people called to welcome in others, 
I will align myself with you and call you my own

and who can even begin to understand a friend, The Friend, who loves us like that?

***
And we are invited to this: You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. Matt 5v48b
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