About a month ago we were hanging out with some friends and we started talking about how we were relating to our neighbors along with Wacoans. The elephant-in the-room question was posed, “have you made any new friends?” Honestly… no. Awkward silence.
Let me be clear, making new friends is difficult. Don’t let Facebook fool you to thinking it’s as easy as a “request” or a “poke.” Making new friends is tough – especially with people you live next to.
Without a doubt, we love our neighbors… they are some of the nicest and kindest people – at least the ones we know. See, we tend to make friends easily with people we have some familiarity with, or with people who are like us and have similar hobbies. This is why people who like the Dallas Cowboys tend to be friends – depressed friends, but friends none-the-less. It’s why those who enjoy shopping or hunting, or photography are typically friends – they enjoy the same things. The list could go on and on, but typically you are friends with people that have a similar points of activity that binds you together. That’s not entirely a bad thing.
Yet, I have found living in the same place for six years has actually not made me any closer to the people in my neighborhood – but it isn’t their fault, it’s mine. I like the idea of knowing my neighbor’s better, but I’m not in the practice of it. That’s a me problem, not a them problem. Part of it is that I’ve failed to inquire about what kinds of things they enjoy while instead, I’ve determined in my limited conversations, that they aren’t interested in the things that I’m interested in and therefore, don’t want to be friends with me.
Coincidentally, Jesus did not have the same issue I have. The borders of Jesus’ friendship network was always expanding… especially to those not like Him – sinners. That’s the charge from Jesus as He reclines at a table with tax collectors and sinners, the religious people become all bent out of shape (see Mark 2:15-17).
Why? Jesus’ friendship borders were larger than the religious leaders would have liked. Guess what, I see more in common in my life with the religious people than I do with Jesus – that’s a problem. So I want to make more friends this year… but not because I’m religious and I need sinner friends, but rather because it’s good for them, and good for me.
So, my prayer is that the borders of my friends would expand… just like Jesus.