Friday, October 14, 2011

Letting Go of Friends

It's really hard to let go of friends. I'll never get used to it. I hate it when friendships end, but sometimes I just can't stop it from happening. As a senior in high school, I look back to all the friends I made in middle and high school. I'm not in contact with most of them now. I've stopped talking to most of the good friends I had the first three years of high school. What happened? We stopped going to the same events and we stopped inviting each other to parties. We just don't ever talk. The problem is that we just don't have much in common anymore.

Most of these friendships have ended peacefully, where we each mutually pulled away, in a sense. But not all ended that way. Some friendships end badly. In these situations, it was the other person who pulled away. I've had four really close friends do that to me in high school. Two ended fast and I was bitter for a long time. In the other two situations, the friend slowly cut off communication with me. Have you ever lost a friendship that way? At one time, you were best friends, but somewhere down the road, the other person stopped returning your calls, stopped replying to your texts, and stopped talking to you in person. This really stinks because you usually don't notice it until it's too late. That's how it happened with my friends. And I really miss those relationships. And sadly, a few of my old friendships ended in arguments or disagreements. We got into a fight and never made up.

I'm sorry to say it, but friends will leave you. Friends will betray you. Friends will hate you. People will slander you on Facebook, spread lies and rumors about you, and make your life miserable. That's a fact. It will happen and nothing you can do will stop it. You can respond maturely or immaturely. And I encourage you to respond maturely. Sometimes all you can say is, "God, thank you for showing me their true colors now and not later." Be grateful that you found out what they were really like before you invested more of your life into them.

Thankfully, we're not alone in our losses. There are many Biblical characters who lost most of their friends. Take Paul for example. He lost everyone when he converted to Christianity. Can you imagine his loneliness for the first few years? Let's translate his situation into relevant terms. Imagine yourself growing up in the same town your whole life, graduating high school with the same friends you attending kindergarten with. You've gone to elementary school, middle school, and high school with these guys. You've gone to church with, played sports with, and gone on vacations with your friends. You've shared in their good times and their bad. That's Paul. He had relationships that went back at least eighteen years, probably much longer depending on his age at the time of his conversion. And all those friendships were instantly ended when he became an apostate. His best friends became his enemies (not that he waged war on them, rather, they waged war on him and his religion).

But even as a Christian, he still experienced the loss of friendship. He addresses Timothy in 2 Timothy 4,

"Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus... Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them."

It looks like a lot of people abandoned him. And this is Paul we're talking about. The guy who wrote half the New Testament. Think of the Scriptures he wrote: Romans 3, Romans 8, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5, Ephesians 6, 1 Timothy 4. And people abandoned him. If he were alive, I'd never leave Paul's side, trying to glean wisdom and understanding from the guy. Yet people left him. To me, that just says everyone will lose friends no matter what. Losing friends is a part of life. It's how you deal with it that can define you.

1 comment:

Shay said...

Funny, I just stumbled upon this blog post and it was just what I needed...I take it back its not funny its a total God thing!