Conditional friendship

Why does what I believe have to keep me from having friendship with people?

I’m not talking about ideologies and philosophy of life kinds of beliefs…like communism or socialism or blatant nationalism…I’m talking about something much simpler.   Much closer to home.

Truth is,  I have had people in my life that have closed down our friendship…some partially…some completely…over:

  • what I believe about end times…
  • what I believe about the sovereignty of God…
  • what I believe about drinking alcohol…
  • what I believe about parenting…
  • what I believe about being a pastor…
  • what I believe about homosexuality…
  • what I believe about politics…
  • what I believe about speaking in tongues…
  • what I believe about church music…
  • what I believe about different ethnic groups…
  • what I believe about baptism…And there’s more.

I’m not stupid.   It’s easier…less hassle…more trust…simpler dialogue…to live life with people who believe the same things.   There’s less risk of offending.   You spend less time defending.   Debate is left for important things like restaurant choices and favorite sports teams.   Great.

But you also miss out the learning and growing that happens when different perspectives are allowed to clash.

The key is trust.    In order to build an atmosphere of trust,  there needs to mutual respect.   There needs to be an attitude of humility.   There needs to be a willingness to admit that we might not have every answer.   There needs to be a culture of learning and an openness to entertain new ideas…and the possibility that i might even be wrong?

No way.

Yes,  way.

Wow.   Learning something  from a person with whom i disagree.   Such a novel idea,  isn’t it?

Managing disagreements and different opinions…or even completely polarized beliefs…is hard.   But it is not impossible.   In fact,  it is in the midst of these differences that our rough edges can be smoothed and our perspectives can be deepened.

Unfortunately,   my experience has been that many people…especially the religious fundamentalist types…seem to grow more and more entrenched in their positions,  as their lives pass by.   They grow comfortable living in the ghetto of being right…

and increasingly uncomfortable with anybody who sees life or truth from a different angle.

I know it’s risky to admit that there might be a little more gray in our black and white worlds than we are willing to admit.   But for me,  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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2 thoughts on “Conditional friendship

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