4. Connect Deeper by Being Loyal
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One of the deepest anguishes I’ve felt in recent years was when a friend, who I loved deeply, broke my trust. The experience was painful and as a result I spent far too long protecting myself from getting hurt again. Despite the pain there were many lessons to be learned, lessons in friendship, faith and forgiveness.
I learned that even though I had been hurt, leading with loyalty in friendship is worth the risk. I learned that forgiveness is often hard-fought when the wound is deep. I learned that forgiveness and reconciliation are two completely different things, but most of all I learned, or more so was reminded, of the type of friend I wanted to be for others. I was reminded that keeping a friend’s confidence is essential to a real friendship.
As we engage with our friends remember to be above reproach, be true and trustworthy. When we grow deeper in our friendships on the foundations of time, presence, and truth, loyalty should be a natural outcome.
Loyalty does not mean we give our friends a free pass at bad behavior or that we remain in unhealthy and toxic relationships. Rather, loyalty means that we keep our friend’s confidence, that we extend them grace and that we assume the best of them.
The reality is that the longer we are in relationship with our friends, the higher the chances are that we might hurt each other. Maybe this week you can connect deeper with a friend by seeking forgiveness, and possibly even reconciliation. Perhaps connecting deeper right now means working towards restoration and setting a new foundation of commitment to one another.
John 15:12-13 sets a pretty high standard for friendship, “ My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
While this directive may feel unachievable or almost too much to ask, I deeply believe that striving to love each other as God loves us can change lives, heal the wounded and deepen not only our earthly relationships but our relationship with Christ. By loving each other well in friendship we radiate Christ to the world.
As we approach our relationships today, tomorrow, and in the future let’s pursue our friends with full abandon. Let’s show up and be real, giving of our time and presence. Let’s lead our friends in this and show them just how deeply we value them. Through this type of love we honor ourselves and our friends, but more than anything else, we honor God.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Hian Oliveira