I think privacy and independence are over-rated in the Body of Christ. I, personally, am through with both. It's time to ask the tough questions, and I am going to start asking them.
What do I mean by “ask the tough questions”? So glad you asked. I'll tell you.
I heard a wonderful lady say recently–through tears–that she didn't have a friend in the world. This was a lady that you would think had it all. Everybody thinks she's popular and has everything she needs… so nobody asks.
Years and years ago, my husband and I were friends with a couple that suddenly divorced. No notice, no clues. We had no idea they were in trouble. After it was over, I said to the man that we were so sorry for never trying to help; that we had had no idea. He responded that it was okay, because they had always hidden it. They didn't want anyone to know. Everybody thought they were okay… so nobody asked.
I was talking to another girlfriend last night, and she mentioned that she was really hurting. I had no idea. She is a wonderful, joyful person, and I had assumed she was okay… so I hadn't asked.
Asking someone how they are doing emotionally, or how their marriage is, or whether they have real, covenant friendships is a tough thing to do. These are tough questions.
But I'm coming to believe more and more that real friends ask tough questions.
Since the incident happened above with our friends who divorced, I determined that I was never going to not ask if I suspected friends of mine were in trouble. Awhile later, I became concerned about another couple that we are friends with. It was hard, but I approached one of them and asked, point-blank: “Is your marriage all right?”
My question might have annoyed my friend; I don't know. My friend answered the question, though. And frankly, I don't really care if that question was annoying or not. I care more about this couple than about whether they get temporarily annoyed with me.
I've come to believe that real friends ask. Real friends care. And it's time to ask the tough questions.
We in the Body of Christ are in this world, but not of it. People don't understand us. Many people feel lonely and isolated. Covenant friendships can be hard to come by.
Yet we have been sitting back and letting the world coast by, assuming everything is just peachy?
But it's not.
Everything is not just peachy:
- Things are not okay when a woman sits by herself at church and cries, because she doesn't have a friend in the world.
- Things are not okay when we don't keep one another accountable about our marriages.
- Things are not okay when someone stops attending church for months at a time, and we never notice.
We need to wake up.
It's time for a new definition of “friendship.” It's time for a new definition of “caring.” I'm serving notice to all those who know me personally that this is my manifesto about what it's going to mean if I'm going to be your friend (and I encourage you to adopt the same manifesto as your own):
If I'm going to be your friend, I'm going to ask the tough questions. I'm going to love you and care about you. I'm going to walk through life with you. I'm going to have fun with you. I'm going to laugh and cry with you.
But I'm also going to ask the tough questions. I'm going to ask you if you have covenant friendships, and I expect you to ask me the same. I'm going to be a covenant friend to you, if you'll receive my friendship. I'm going to make sure you have someone to sit with at church, at lunch, or any other time. I'm going to ask you how your marriage is, and I expect you to ask me the same.
If you're depressed, bankrupt, or discouraged, I want to know about it, and I want to hug your neck and walk with you through it. It's not because I'm nosy. It IS because I love you. And real, covenant friendship in the Body of Christ loves and asks even when you don't want to be loved or asked.
Privacy is for the birds. Independence is for the birds. We need each other. Let's stop assuming everything is fine when it's not. Let's start taking care of each other the way Jesus would.
I don't want to let people fall through the cracks anymore. Real friendship asks tough questions.
Who do you need to reach out to today, and ask some tough questions?