John and I are genuine friends. We love hanging out together. We’re similar in personality, although our emotional range differs greatly (bet you can’t guess who has more range — err, raising my hand somewhat shamelessly). I would argue our enjoyment of each other’s company is one of God’s sweetest gifts in putting us together. But in my opinion, and I can’t officially speak for John, that isn’t what keeps us tight. It isn’t what kept the communication airways clear when we were both weary at Anna’s 4th week of life. It isn’t what keeps me from going off into fantasy land, expecting him to read my mind.
I think, after first our submission to and dependence on Jesus, what keeps us tight is always trying to believe the best about each other.
Like they say, innocent until proven guilty? I’ve started to say (to myself mostly), assume good until proven different.
I’m QUITE far from perfect in this, but I can’t tell you how many times practicing this has saved me from hurt feelings or the temptation to give a chilly silent treatment. 1 Corinthians tell us love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others (v.7). God is the only one who truly knows a person’s motives, right? He’s the only one who sees the entirety of our hearts in what we say or the choices we make. Assuming motive is not my territory, and acting on that assumption usually leads to disappointment and hurt, in my experience.
God is responsible for the forming and re-forming of human hearts; our responsibility is to love the person in front of us being formed and re-formed.
And then there is pastor Paul,
if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:1-4 NIV)
Enter the lesson of Year 6: If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, in every relationship, humble yourself, believe the best, and trust God to be God.*
Celebrating includes sushi, a chocolate chip cookie from Panera, and an overnight in Athens this weekend. Also, we were remembering how we’ve celebrated anniversaries in the past and the only one we can’t remember is year 3. Still working on that.
Do you document anniversaries? How do you do it?
*The first half of this sentence is The Message’s phrasing for Philippians 2:1. The second half are my words.
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