Why is it that we often treat total strangers better than family or acquaintances that God has put there for us to love?
Some people value their friends much more than their family, even when their links with family are never to be undone. Some rightfully choose friends over family because family has done them irreparably wrong, but some people do still choose their friends over very good family relations. We might wonder why. We might also die wondering.
Then there are the acquaintances we find ourselves linked with—through our churches, workplaces, and pastimes. In what can be likened to sandpaper ministry, very often we feel betrayed by an event upon which we’re not forgiven. And being very fallible human beings we’re bound to disappoint people; such a pity when these things may not be reconciled.
Clearly the closer we are to some people the more we push them away. The closer we are, the harder it is for them to tolerate us.
Understanding How Judgmental And Unforgiving Natures
Not that it is acceptable by any means, but there are features about our humanity we cannot deny. When we’re truthful we understand how judgmental and unforgiving we can be; how we struggle, innately, with both. We understand, in these frames of mind, a little more why people may struggle to tolerate us.
But it still hurts.
When we continue to come into contact with people and we continue to face their rejection—or vice versa, because we’re so apt at rejecting people, too—we can begin to lose faith in the closer-by humanity. We may begin to distance ourselves. We may begin to invest in pastimes instead of relationships.
Now, this is when the value of ‘non-judgmental’ friends comes into play. Whilst they promise, by their omission, to keep the relationship light and superficial, as we will, there’s no threat. But, there’s also no growth and no real love.
Sometimes we don’t want to have to do the hard work in relationships. We don’t want to expose ourselves to hurt and, therefore, have to work on matters of forgiveness. We can avoid it. But, there’s no growth and no real love there, either.
Families and close friends, and very much it’s about acquaintances, too, will place us in situations where being hurt and having to forgive are necessary. These are transactions of real love.
There is the character of a certain person who cannot be bothered with such realities. Such a person will prefer their shallow and superficial relationships; they may be more selfish at heart than they can reconcile.
Relationships require us to be courageous. Where we’re not fearful of being hurt, and of having to forgive, we’re able to nurture closer relationships with family and tolerable, enduring relationships with our acquaintances. Where there is love there is growth, and where there is growth there is joy.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.