The Vows of Friendship

By Sasha Katz

I don’t know what your sins are. I don’t know what you regret or what mistakes you have made. I don’t know who you have pretended to be. I don’t know what mirrors you have avoided in your life. I don’t know what truths you’ve trampled for your own self-interest. Only you do.

It is the condition of your own heart that enables you to know what lines you’ve crossed. It’s your knowledge and understanding of what is good and evil that allows you to acknowledge your transgressions. Truth is not easily found if the heart is clouded by grey. The truth of your own sin is not evident without a certain amount of light revealing the motivations of the pulsing flesh inside you.  The weight of your mistakes, transgressions and sin doesn’t fully come down until the light beams in.

The magnificent thing about God’s light is that when He reveals sin, His light doesn’t magnify the transgression. He amplifies Himself. The sight of Him calls you to turn away from the sin. It’s His kindness and love that leads us to repentance. I think that’s why we can believe that, once repentant, He separates our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. It’s by no works of our own, but Himself.

I know that you know what your sins are. Your regrets and mistakes. What you have pretended to be. The self reflection you have avoided. The self interest you have promoted. I know that you know because I also know the depths of my own heart spattered with transgressions and mistakes. The upside of our reciprocal imperfection is that it can become a baseline for our friendship.

The invitation, first of God, and then to one another, is the true gift of friendship – – where the acknowledgement of our baseline of imperfection – – grows us to be real and genuine. Where you can with Christ, in confidence, lay down your life for your friends. That is the place where what I know about me and you what know about you collide in holy way. It’s the type of friendship that supersedes what I have done and helps me be who I was made to be. That is vow of real friendship. That is God’s invitation and I pray that you and I, dressed in all of our imperfections, take it.

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. Psalm 32:1-2

. . . God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance . . . Romans 2:4

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

sunshine 3

Thanks to Walking on Sunshine for her Sunday Scripture that was my inspiration today.

The Rear View Mirror

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

Yesterday AbbyA implored us to face the woman we once were. Warts. Freckles. Moles. The Good. The Bad. And the Ugly. She reminded us of the freedom we can have when we live our lives, not in the shadows of shame of denial, but in the light, the true light of forgiveness and redemption.

Today as you drive to work today, to drop your kids of to school today, to run errands…wherever you are headed today, I encourage you to live your day, to live out your life, looking forward and not fixated on what’s in the rear view mirror.

We have all felt that sharp, searing pain that shoots right through our gut when we reflect on past decisions we wish we could have changed. A different career path. Arrrgh. Buying that “investment” house in 2005 that is now underwater. Ouch! Not pursuing our passions with more passion. Sigh. The list of decisions we wish we could change can go on and on.

Unfortunately, often we get so caught up on reflecting on our mistakes that we begin to live our lives like we were driving with our gaze fixated on the rear view mirror. And as we do, we no longer can see what we have to look forward to …instead, all we can see is what once was, inevitably also missing what’s surrounding us.

But what if I told you with utmost confidence, despite all your mistakes, your wrong decisions, your wrong turns in life, you are right where you are supposed to be? What if I told you that those aren’t just words of encouragement from me, but that God promises us that same thing? The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalm 37:23.

I think of Joseph in the Bible. His life story seemed over. He had obviously reached a Dead End.  Falsely accused of attempting to rape his employer’s wife. Stuck all the way down in a dirty, disgusting, slimy prison pit. Sure to be forgotten by his family, by even God. But at the right time, he was elevated. Not only from prison but to second in command of Egypt.

I think of Job who, too, had reached the end of the road. He somehow lost it all. His children. His wealth. His own health. His own wife encouraged him to curse God and die. Eventually though, after all that pain and suffering, we are told God gave him double.

You, too, do not have to continue your life looking back. You do not have to torment yourself with “what ifs.” Even if you have reached an impasse in your marriage, a dead end in your career, you can still get to the place where God had destined for you. He can redirect your GPS and get you to where you were meant to be all along.

 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalms 40:2

 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9