This is a devotion that I received via email today. We have been discussing friendships – good and bad – in one of my Yahoo groups this past weekend. When this popped up I took it as a sign to share it here. Friendships take effort. If we want a TRUE friend we must be make the effort to be honest and authentic with ourselves and our friends. Just like a marriage takes work – so does a friendship. We must be open to change with one another. We should also reevaluate the amount of work we put into maintaining our friendships. Keeping a friendship fresh and alive takes work. Friendships are like a flower. As long as you are giving it the proper amount of attention and nourishment it will grow and flourish. However, if ignored it will begin to wilt, dry up and eventually die. Before you know it you will find yourself the owner of a dead and dried up plant that is too far gone to bring back to life.
by Rick Warren
But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. Then the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from every sin. If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:7–8 (NCV)
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In Christian fellowship people should experience authenticity.
Authentic fellowship is not superficial, surface-level chit-chat. It’s genuine, heart-to-heart, sometimes gut-level, sharing.
It happens when people get honest about who they are and what is happening in their lives. They share their hurts, reveal their feelings, confess their failures, disclose their doubts, admit their fears, acknowledge their weaknesses, and ask for help and prayer.
Authenticity is the exact opposite of what you find in many churches. Instead of an atmosphere of honesty and humility, there is pretending, role-playing, politicking, superficial politeness, and shallow conversation.
People wear masks, keep their guard up, and act as if everything is rosy in their lives. These attitudes are the death of real friendship.
It’s only as we become open about our lives that we experience authentic fellowship. The Bible says, “If we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. . . . If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves” (1 John 1:7–8 NCV).
The world thinks intimacy occurs in the dark, but God says it happens in the light. We tend to use darkness to hide our hurts, faults, fears, failures, and flaws. But in the light, we bring them all out into the open and admit who we really are.
Of course, being authentic requires both courage and humility. It means facing our fear of exposure, rejection, and being hurt again.
Why would anyone take such a risk?
Because it’s the only way to grow spiritually and be emotionally healthy. The Bible says, “Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed” (James 5:16 MSG).