friendship is really beautiful. Many of us have experienced really deep friendship where the interactions are sweet and the camaraderie is uncanny. One of the most profound illustrations of friendship was a few years ago when a speaker unpacked the relationship of the Trinity. Before Creation Father God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit all existed in perfect harmony and unity; the creation of man was simply to be an extended inclusion of such deep harmony, unity, friendship. The nature of this friendship was a pouring out of love towards one another; the relationship was selflessly oriented and fought against any hint of selfish ambition.
I think there is something to this illustration of friendship that perhaps the rest of us can glean from. At its bare bones, authentic and deep friendship is something that naturally invites other people into itself. Just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit gathered in deep friendship and mankind simply stepped into the invitation into intimacy, I think the way we form friendships ought to take on a similar flavor.
This is all to say, we humans, can be pretty exclusive. We exclude others based on their looks, ideas, and culture. We actually create arbitrary and silly stipulations that have very little bases in the grand scheme of life. How many times have I consciously or even subconsciously created a culture of exclusivity that has prevented other people from experiencing the deep riches of intimate relationship?
This might be a stretch, but I think real, Gospel centered relationships are ones that are selfless, rich, exciting, and inclusive in nature.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Love is selfless and focuses on others as we focus on loving Christ. This agape love is different because it is not driven by selfish ambition, but a goal of pleasing and honoring Christ. Often times this type of love is uncomfortable, convicting, and challenging altogether. Loving people like ourselves is easy, but loving people who mess with our intrinsic rhythms is highly difficult [if we are honest]. The goal of the day is not to simply love people who are different, but to seek the ones who, perhaps in our eyes and the eyes of Christ, are marginalized, the misfit, and broken in their own way.