Monday, February 27, 2012


It is a wonderful thing to live in a context of friends who provide us with stimulus, encouragement and challenge.  This is the heart of community, for in such a context we can serve and be served and grow in our giftedness and responsibility.

But there is a possible downside to this scenario.  Within the context of friends, we can also feel the pressure of their expectations.

There is nothing wrong with our friends knowing our strong points. And equally there is nothing wrong with our serving in ways that are consistent with our recognized abilities.  But there is something wrong with being put in a box and with not being able to acknowledge that we are developing different priorities or concerns or to admit that our resources have run dry.

Hence, we may sometimes feel that we were slowly becoming a prisoner of people’s expectations instead of a man liberated by divine promises.  Within the community of friends we need to guard the gift of individual freedom so that we can all continue to grow beyond the expectations of others.

True friendship is not only built on the busy round of continually doing things for each other.  Such seemingly good activity may in fact exhaust the relationship.  The cycle of giving because we have first received can become a legalistic form of reciprocity.

Nor is true friendship built on the busy round of much-talking and constant self-disclosure.  The attempt to build friendship in this way may be more a reflection of insecurity than of trust.

The road to friendship is somewhat different.  While it certainly involves giving and receiving and open sharing, it also involves a respect for boundaries.  Intimate relationships that do not create free space for the other can become suffocating relationships.  We may feel at times the desire to be silent with our friends.  Not every event has to be told, not every idea has to be exchanged.

It is in the silences as much as in the conversations that friendship can be built.  Friendship should incorporate solitude as much as sharing and common activity.  Friendship should not always exist in what we do for each other.  It is also what we are for each other, even when we are not doing anything.

Written by: Swiss Wenger


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