In Practice Resurrection, Eugene Peterson writes,
Maturity develops in worship as we develop in friendship with the friends of God, not just our preferred friends.
It makes sense. Jesus asked us to love our neighbor - and not just the people we like.
By developing friendships with people who are unlike us, we grow in curiosity, humility, and empathy. They can show us our blind spots, and we might be able to give them the same gift. When former enemies become sisters or brothers in Christ, it shows the glory of the gospel to a polarized and divided world.
Think of the challenge it is for a foot to understand an elbow, or a head to make sense of a stomach (1 Corinthians 12). Our place in the body may be quite different, and we each have different roles to play, but it is by functioning together, with love and respect for one another, that our bodies are healthy.
One way I practice this principle is by interacting with so many new friends in this community. It’s a joy!
How have you seen this principle at work in your life?
Probably about a year ago, I separated from our Christian homeschool co-op, because the leadership had become really corrupt. But along with that, I pulled away from a small group of women I had made friends with. Part of this was due to my own trauma from emotional, mental, and physical abuse from childhood that was ongoing into my adulthood. Once I began seeing a Christian therapist to help me work through the trauma after I had cut contact from my family, I began to reach back out to some of my friends I had pulled from. They have been a huge blessing to my continued healing and recovery, because I often do not and/or cannot trust my own judgment with some situations, because my mind is still being trained out of trauma responses. I know that I am safe to come to them when I need to ask if my thoughts or responses are reasonable or just to simply talk through my irrational emotional responses when they come so that I can then move forward in a charitable way. It’s been encouraging and has enabled me to make progress in not expecting or scanning my surroundings for threats.
It’s nice to know we’ll not alone in thoughts and actions. To know others have gone through or are going through the same things we are going through helps as we talk to each other in comforting concern. To know that there is another side to reach that feels better than the side you now reside in. After all, life is a journey, filled with ups and downs. And along the way there are people all around. And the wise will share what they have found. To help those on the same path to find their way. Follow the light to get away from the gray. To go to the place you want to stay. There are signs to follow along the way. God even prepares other people with words to say. The words we need to hear at just the right time. All that you need, may you always find. May even these words comfort you. For there are many that you will comfort too! Be blessed, by being a blessing to others.