12 Jan Your enemies are not my enemies
I was very fortunate to host 30 women for my birthday dinner last year. It was by far one of the best birthdays of my life. Somehow, I managed to get attorneys, teachers, nurses, managers, and accountants all in the same room on a Thursday night. I recall one of my friends saying, “Lala, you have too many friends”. I laughed it off and told her to get to know a few of them. What many don’t know is that I love to connect people. Sometimes I get to know people just for networking purposes. We may never become friends, but the information that I receive could possible be used to connect them with someone that I know.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always pan out the way that I expect it to. I can recall an instance where I introduced mutual friends to each other. One was new to Cali, so it made sense to introduce her to all of my Cali friends. Well at least that’s what I thought. Then she started asking questions. She wanted to know if I considered my new Cali friends more of a friend than her. I’ve never been asked this question before. In fact, it made me very uncomfortable. I’ve never had to compare friendships, and I wasn’t about to start.
However, the seed was already planted. There was nothing that I could say to make this person feel like she was a part of the circle so inevitably, their friendship never blossomed. In fact, it took a turn for the worse. How did I end up here? A part of me wanted them to work things out. In fact, I lobbied for it, but when one person has their mind made up, I don’t force it; I actually respect it – right or wrong. I’ve learned to allow others to make decisions that are best for them while still maintaining a healthy friendship. The misconception about friendship is that you have to have everything in common, you have to do what I would do, or you have to act how I would act when in actuality, most friends are the complete opposite. It was our differences that brought us together. I’ve learned to embrace different perspectives and to embrace different versions of the truth so I wasn’t shocked when their stories didn’t match. Figure it out is what I thought. You two are adults and should be able to find a solution.
I was wrong. In fact, I was so far off the spectrum that I was nearly off the beam. My neutral position didn’t settle well with one of the friends. In fact, she insisted that I have my friend speak with her and apologize. It felt like an ultimatum. Your enemy is not my enemy is what I thought. I can’t demand a grown woman do anything that she doesn’t desire to do. It was cool to not like someone who wronged your friends in high school. It was almost easier to choose a side then, but as a maturing adult who’s had her share of mistakes, I need to be wiser about my decision and to stop doing things just to please people. Do I insert myself into a situation that has absolutely nothing to do with me, or do I allow two grown adults to figure out their own mess? I chose the latter. I understood that this would upset one of my friends, but I rather upset a friend than to upset God. I take orders from Him. Trying to force my friend to do something she didn’t want to do would’ve been completely out of line, so I chose to give respect than to disrespect.
Don’t get involved in the mess or feel bad because you did what you know is best in any situation. God wants us to get along and to be peacemakers, but it is through His guidance and leadership that we learn how to do these things, not through faulty theories. I listened to both women, considered how they both felt, and offered advice where I could. God didn’t tell me to abandon the friendship or to take one person’s side. He wants reconciliation more than He wants resolution. Many of us are trying to solve problems that don’t exist instead of focusing on our relationships. The decision ultimately damaged a friendship, but it was a decision that I was willing to accept because I chose God. Friendship involves mutuality and reciprocity. It does not mean that you’ll always agree. We live in a world where you’re blackballed if you don’t agree with everyone; You’re looked at like you’re weird and considered abnormal, but I know a God who intentionally set me apart, who renews my mind every day, and who gives me the wisdom to move as I should. Don’t get caught up in trying to make people happy that you forfeit the opportunity to develop your character and mature in your walk.
Thank you for being my shield and my buckler (Psalm 91:4). You are the author of my life, for it is written. Continue to guide me and lead me as You would have me go. May I never conform to this world and feel that I need to make everyone like or accept me. You have accepted me. You love me. You correct me. May I be humble in my approach and gentle in my delivery but remain steadfast in You. May I have peace when people decide to walk away. May my heart be forgiving and my head never turn from you. Give me the strength that I need to stand when I feel abandoned by friends or family. May I see it as a blessing and may I surrender them to You. For vengeance is Yours, not mine (Romans 12:19). Continue to do a new thing in me and lead me wherever you would have me. Amen.