When our team was in Sierra Leone at the beginning of May, one of the things that struck me most was the pure brotherly love shown by men in that country. We had the privilege to travel with the WHI employee who was charged with developing village partnerships. Every village we would visit, he would walk with the Chief to simply develop and build a relationship. You would often see him walking with his arm wrapped around the chief or the two men walking through the village holding hands. There was one purpose in this action; it was completely selfless and it was done to bridge the gap of division to create unity and the strength of community; to see the village strengthened through teamwork. I will be honest, the act of holding hands took many of us back at first, because here in the states we have a hard time disseminating between brotherly love and sexual love due to our overly sexualized culture. But there was nothing impure about this, it was simply two leaders who wanted the best for their communities and were willing to bridge the gap and work together in order to see a common goal accomplished.
I was reading from 1 Samuel 18 this morning and was challenged by the relationship of Jonathan and David. This was a deep and close relationship. It says in verses 1 and 3, “Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” and “Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.” This relationship was only possible because of Jonathan’s devotion and love for the things of God. His dependence on God allowed him to put his own personal well-being behind those people he loved. His loyalty and allegiance to David was only possible due to his loyalty and allegiance to his Heavenly Father. The love Jonathan had for David had nothing to do with selfish desire, it wasn’t a self-serving or sexual kind of love; it was a pure love between brothers that could only come out of a cultivated and deep relationship with God. Jonathan and David were bonded by their love for God and His purposes…for the things of God and His Kingdom.
I have done my best to walk the last 21 years of my life in pursuit of the ways of God. I would be lying if I said I was successful all the time or really a majority of the time. I really do not know the percentage of time I have been successful in the ways of the Lord, but the fact remains the Holy Spirit always redirects me to the ways of God when I get off the path. There have been times over the past few years where I get close to someone, begin to build a solid relationship, and we connect in a deeper way due to our common desire for the things of God’s Kingdom. We connect because of an unselfish desire to see the Body of Christ united and the spiritually lost introduced to their Heavenly Father. Along with those types of relationships, trials will come. Jonathan had to walk a fine line of serving his best friend David and loving a father who wanted to kill his closest friend. What was Jonathan’s compass pointed at when he encountered those types of situations? Truth…God’s truth. Jonathan understood that great friendships come at great cost, but truth always prevails when fought for.
I have had these types relationships, but I have failed when presented with tough situations, confrontations, or bad decisions. I wasn’t strong enough spiritually or emotionally to stand up for truth, to press in and fight for the relationship. It was far easier for me to walk in the opposite direction and take care of my family and myself. I could sit here feeling guilty and beating myself up, but that does no good either. I simply look back, evaluate what was good, what went wrong, and make sure history does not repeat itself. I also cannot allow the fear of what might happen prevent me from diving deep into a friendship/partnership that could result in the advancement of God’s Kingdom.
I find myself once again in a situation very similar to Jonathan’s relationship with David. Yet, the Lord has stripped me of pride, shown me the value of true servant leadership, filled me with love for His church, and put in me a desire to not run from confrontation, but simply press into it with the Love of the Father. Jesus’ love is not weak, nor soft, but it is compassionate and firmly planted in Truth; willing to lay down His life for all of God’s children.
So…what is holding you back from friendships that have the ability to change the world around you? What is holding you back from being the change instead of complaining about the current situation? What is holding you back from embracing the lost and introducing them to a loving Father who misses them? What is holding you back from moving forward instead of dwelling on what wasn’t or what could have been. Decide today to take a step towards the Son…
Blessings and love,