“I’m a Christian.” She whispered in my ear. I instantly put her in a category. I placed an invisible crown upon her head that read: virtuous, pure, perfect. My views of who she might be were heaped in expectations because we were sister believers. Joined at the heart through Jesus. This was going to be the friendship. The best friend I’d longed and prayed for.
I kept my rose colored glasses on within our friendship for a while. And then things started to happen. Annoying little things. Thoughtless things.
The pretty packaging began to unravel.
How could she say that? She’s a believer. She should know better. She should act better. That isn’t very Christ-like.
Her crown began to slide to the side of her head – hey, never mind that I didn’t even expect myself to wear that same crown. I mean, I knew how imperfect I was and so did God.
But I was a good friend.
When she texted, I texted back.
When she showed up at my home unannounced, I let her in and was the shoulder to cry on.
But when I needed a listening ear, she was no where to be found.
When my tears came, I was alone with them.
And I was miffed.
What kind of friend does that?
What kind of Christian isn’t there when her soul sister needs her? I mean, really?
Knock, knock, knock.
A broken soul sister. That’s who. A human broken soul sister.
Remember that time you felt like you were drowning in life?
Yes, Lord. Yes, I do.
Did you take on other people’s problems then? Did you feel able to do that?
No. Absolutely not.
Then don’t expect that of her. Don’t expect from others what only I can truly give you.
I still struggle with this. With expectations on what relationships should look like. I still long for that perfect friendship, the one where no one gets hurt or is disappointed. You know the kind, because we all long for it.
We need the constant reminder that there is only one perfect friendship.
We need to stop putting people on pedestals and expecting something out of them that they can’t deliver.
What if we stopped placing that invisible crown on folks because they are believers and instead give them the same grace we give non-believers.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
I know it’s not biblical – thanks for that reality check Ice Cube – but it’s a good reminder and one I use often. Because I am my own worst enemy so often.
Now, I am not advocating allowing others to abuse you. If you’ve got a friend who hurts you more than she helps you, it’s time to take a step or two back from that friendship. Or maybe it’s time for a real conversation to address the issue. Only you know what’s best for that relationship. If you don’t know what to do, pray for discernment. Be prepared that you too might hear somethings in this conversation that you don’t want to hear. Be willing to listen.
Let’s agree to be believers who give grace to those within the body of Christ.