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Continually, we endure challenging rifts in relationships. With honesty, humility and Jesus' commandment to forgive especially fellow Believers seventy-times-seven, friendships flourish and endure and individual character continues to flourish and transform.

In this Disposable Age, we could block of one another in search of other meaningful friends, or be honed by the differences. Many might choose to dispose of a valuable friendship the moment a squeak, an uncomfortable tension, or an argument presents. It can be awkward, potentially humiliating and perhaps discouraging to address head-on. That's the ugly face of Pride, though.

How do we decide whether to part peacefully, or choose further refinement through those uncomfortable challenges? Perhaps asking if the squeaks, tension, or differences were intentional to hurt & harm or not. If intentional, by all means, mean-spirited energy should never be endured or tolerated. Simply forgiving (to release bad energy stored within) and moving away from that person is best while wishing God's peace. I used to think Peace was necessary for all relationships, but it is not. Of course, having Peace with all is ideal, but finding common ground with someone not on common ground (ie. a non-Believer) isn't possible. In those cases, we seek the best resolve possible; yet, with a fellow Believer -- and one from my Church Body -- one must do whatever possible to have resolution and reconciliation.

If not intentional, though, further pressing into one another to learn more about those sticky places -- and how to narrow the gap -- is best for our integrity and long-term mental health. I learned a valuable practice through clarifying conversations (as Pastor Michael puts it). I am grateful for honesty of those near & dear, knowing that I would not intend to hurt. Bold honesty and confronting the issue doesn't necessarily spell disaster. Confrontation can be healthy & peaceful, though a little squeaky. Since Believers know we are to forgive seventy-times-seven, this is more possible than with someone who does not.

How grateful to know that Jesus instructed us to forgive one another essentially infinitely (Matthew 18:21-22) and that our record of wrongs would be tossed into the Sea of Forgetfulness or sent to the lost horizon (Micah 7:19).

Like a pearl etched to beauty by nature's sanding -- and not by "parasitic irritation" -- good friends help us to be better.

Some of the best gifts a friend could offer:


Protection of one's vulnerability and weaknesses.



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