Charging into to Vast Space Between Ourselves and Others

Reaching my fullest potential is enhanced by friendships of association, loyalty and affection.

Pastor Clinton Fick, “People mostly need help making friends.”

Often the friendship conversation includes Aristotle’s three types of friendships from Book VIII of The Nicomachean Ethics written sometime around 350 B.C.

Friendships of Utility              Friends who are conveniently helpful to your life

Friendships of Pleasure          Friends who help you stay light-hearted

Friendships of the Good

“In a friendship of the good, you value who that friend actually is, strengths and weaknesses alike, and there is sufficient trust between the two that the relationship’s quality and depth outshine those of other types of friendship.” Suzanne Degges-White, PhD, in Psychology Today

Long before Aristotle, the Bible presented friendships in ways that can be loosely affiliated as follows:

In both Testaments the ideas of friend and friendship involve three components: association, loyalty, and affection. There are also three levels of meaning: friendship as association only; friendship as association plus loyalty; and friendship as association plus loyalty plus affection.

Friendship as association only.

  • When Gideon came, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. Judges 7:13
  • Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. Romans 15:2
  • There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:12

Friendship as association plus loyalty.

  • So Hushai, David’s friend, came into the city, just as Absalom was entering Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 15:37
  • And when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, came to Absalom, Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!” 2 Samuel 16:16
  • Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers; Zabud the son of Nathan was priest and king’s friend. 1 Kings 4:5

Friendship as association plus loyalty plus affection.

  • I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. 11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) 12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart.
  • 15 For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
  • 17 So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. Philemon

For making friendships of association + loyalty + affection I must overcome:

Inertia                         There is external, internal and spiritual resistance

Caution                       Timidity, fear and self-protection must be overcome

Disappointment         Longing for perfect friendship, all human friendships have a measure of disappointment.

Let’s learn from Jesus in John 15:9-17.

I charge into the vast space between myself and the other because I am loved by God.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

I charge into the vast space between myself and the other with the same love I receive from Jesus.

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

I charge into the vast space between myself and the other knowing I must lay down my life for the other.

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

I charge into the vast space between myself and the other knowing I must share my business.

15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

I charge into the vast space between myself and the other knowing this is my choice.

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you…

May God grant grace to overcome relational inertia, caution and disappointment

The sentence, “We live do our best work and live our best lives when we charge into the vast space between ourselves and others,” is from the introduction of Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs, by Joshua Wolf Shenk