confusion central
if you’re here, you are SO lost.

This weekend

On Sunday, we sang a song I think many people are familiar with.  The basic idea is simply to remind worshipers that they are “friends of God” – that He calls us friends.  

Really simple.  Yet this phrase has always disturbed me.  The point was brought home to me when our worship leader said, at the conclusion of that song, “Isn’t that encouraging?”  My initial reaction was that of course it was not.  It was the single most disheartening thing I’d ever heard.   

Let’s look a little closer. Princeton WordNet 2007 defines a friend as “a person you know well and regard with affection and trust…” an “ally: an associate who provides assistance…” an “acquaintance: a person with whom you are acquainted…” and a “supporter: a person who backs a politician or a team etc.”This means that God calls me friend, child, ally, supporter.  Am I, truly, any of those things all the time, or even most of the time?  I’d settle for 95% of the time – but I’m still far from that.

I’m a teen.  I value my friends very highly, and I wouldn’t dream of betraying them, putting them down, shrugging them off, or pretending I didn’t know them. 

Yet what is it that I feel when I’m asked why I think the way I do about God and the world?  What is it that, at best, makes me indifferent to what God tells me and, at worst, makes me want to feign total  ignorance of Him?

Ignoring a letter from a friend would create massive feelings of guilt.  Shrugging off the kind hand of a comforter would make me feel like…well…I don’t use those words.  And pretending I didn’t know any one of my amazing friends would make me want to crawl under a rock.  So why don’t I feel the same way about God?  Shouldn’t it bother me that he’s called me friend, and all I want him to do is stay in church, where I don’t have to remember him all the time?

If I’m a friend of God, I’m surely not a good one.  I can gloss it over, saying that I have a lot to learn, but I don’t think that will make this particular impression go away.  Honestly, I don’t think the feeling of insufficiency will ever completely disappear.  It will always be there – every time I say something a little too sarcastic or pointed, every time I’m discontented with what I have, every time I sit in stark, telling silence by someone who I know has never heard the Gospel. 

 

So no.  Being a “friend” of God doesn’t encourage me.  It should!  I know I could never even think about possibly being his friend unless he had fully closed the gap between us, and I know I will never find a better friend.  But this friendship business makes me wish I were a better one.

 

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4 Responses to “This weekend”

  1. And that right there, young lady, is what makes me very happy to know you.
    I wish I were a better friend the friends I have, but they love me anyway. That is really why they are real friends.

    John 15:14-15 says “You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.”
    I imagine that is what rubs it in, isn’t it? Because you don’t always do what He commands? But don’t you? What does He command? To repent. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and to love your neighbor as yourself.
    So why are you bothered? If you didn’t love Him, you wouldn’t want to be a better friend. It wouldn’t bother you at all. But it does BECAUSE YOU LOVE HIM. Ergo, He calls you friend.

    When you realize you have denied Him, check yourself. Stand up, speak out. Don’t count percentage of failures any more than you should percentage of winnings. Don’t count. God isn’t any more. But this is where the courage comes in that you brought up in a previous post: “Why cowardice was listed before the other sins.”

  2. Hebrews 2:11 says “For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers.” So not only are we Jesus’s friends, we are by our adoption his brothers (or sisters). (The song may be referencing Proverbs 18:24, which says that there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.)

    I think maybe your guilt comes from not making the distinction between who befriends whom. We are His friends and brothers because Christ befriends us. The fact that we may not always treat Him like our friend should only make it more comforting that he is such a good friend to us. Of course, remorse is part of any friendship involving a sinful but sincere person. But if the friendship is real, it doesn’t go away just because one of the friends is acting rotten, just like your brother is still your brother when you fight.

    Just thoughts…

  3. Good post Lydia. I was going to say, God still calls you a friend now matter what you do, or say. Not that we have a license to just go sin, but…

  4. Wow…thank you guys so much for all your thoughts. I really appreciate it. And I ::am:: working on a new post! But I will consider everything you’ve said the next time I hear that song. 😉 This ^^^ is pretty much an ever-present feeling, but it’s brought home especially hard when I hear that song.


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