There is a conference happening next weekend in Chicago called “When Jesus met Mary – A sacred friendship gathering”. It is a conference exploring friendship between men and women. Here is the link from the website of Dan Brennan. Dan is an author and leader of this event – he is also a new friend of mine, and I have enjoyed his blog articles and things he has written on the subject of men and women.
This has been a subject of much debate over the years – emotional affairs seem to be on the rise – especially in churches and among leadership. Can a relationship between a man and a woman who are NOT married – be just a friendship? Can they love each other, be concerned and care about each other? Be involved in their daily life, share humor, special moments and kindness? I believe they can. My friend and fellow blogging buddy Alise Write wrote a great article on the subject today of “Guard your heart” – what does it really mean? To put a fence around it – or to love recklessly and on the wild side – like Jesus did?
We all have a story – or know someone who does, where it taints our idea of platonic love between the sexes. I get it. And it is a risk to love someone – regardless of gender. But I believe with all my heart that it doesn’t have to be that way. I believe that we can love – with no fear – like Jesus did. Where the end result is a deep and lasting friendship. Is it a risk? Yes – all the time. I’ve risked myself several times, been misunderstood, been betrayed, humiliated and accused – because of someone’s fear. But I believe that there can be a safe place to have others in our lives – where understanding, respect, kindness, gentleness and love – compel us to do right – not wrong. And I believe that day is coming – as we move past our fear of sin where we bind up the protection of our heart so tight that no one can get in – and where every one of the opposite sex looks menacing and evil – and into a better place of community and relationship where we don’t think of others as “scary”, “sinful” or “just wrong”.
As I’ve written about before – I have had several male friends in my life – before I was married and since. I still have several that I consider very close friends – who I can count on – and I know would have my back in any crisis or situation. They are stable, kind, funny and solid. And I love being able to be myself with them with no judgement. I love that I don’t have to explain myself to them – and I love it that Greg agrees that all of these men are good people – and he is friends with them as well. There is no room for jealousy in our marriage – and we have done the hard work to rid ourselves of that – and we have a better marriage because of it.
I’m hoping there will be a day when this subject is an understood one – where people can agree to love deeply and build relationships based on trust and the common good. Where friendship is not seen as suspicious, because of so much abuse – but instead looked on with acceptance and love.
I want to challenge you today: Live a life of love – of intentional relationship – with no fear. Take the risk of friendship. You’ll be glad you did.
- The “Taboo” Subject (cindyholman.com)