The other day I saw an article about Westboro Church protesting at Elizabeth Taylor’s funeral. Why? Because she is an AIDS activist and friend to gays.
This post is not about Westboro. Not about Elizabeth Taylor. Not about homosexuality. Not about AIDS activism. I have plenty to say about each. What this post is about is friendship.
When I saw this, I tweeted (5 tweets long!): “Westboro is protesting Elizabeth Taylor’s funeral b/c she was an AIDS activist & friend to gays. Really?! they’d be at mine too then.We are to produce fruit. What does that look like? Loving people, relationships w/ the scorned. Not hating people who are sinful. Remember: we ALL started out as depraved. Incapable of knowing good. You, by showing them goodness, could be helping 2 show grace too. In fact, if all your friendships are “easy”, it’s time to find new friends. Refer to the beatitudes for a few suggestions ;) Okay, off my theological #soapbox. My best friendships r the 1s I have to work at. That’s where the fruit’s at. Youthpastors should agree :)”
That’s kind of the sum of this post, but I’m going to elaborate:
Christians are called to love–not just other Christians, but our enemies, the poor, sinners, your neighbors, everybody. It’s not in our job description to hate or condemn. It’s just not. Elizabeth Taylor was in trouble with those who claim to be followers of the same Jesus Christ who said all this for two reasons: being a friend of sinners and being an activist for the diseased. I remember that my Jesus in the Bible were both those things.
It’s so easy to be safe in our Christian bubble–go to a Christian school in a Christian community with Christian friends and work with Christians in a Christian church. But that is tooooooooooooo easy. Fruit may come out of that, but not the best kind of fruit. Apples might get produced, but what about something more exotic? Something rarer? Sweeter? Papaya? :) (sometimes I think I’m hilarious)
If you want fruit to come out of your relationships, maybe you should seek out relationships that are harder–friendships with non-Christians? Friendships with the ignored? Friendships with those who are hurting and depressed? Or how about loving your enemies and treating them as if they aren’t your enemies? It’s difficult.
And I’m not perfect at this…in fact, quite the opposite. I’m the type of person where if a relationship isn’t easy, I abandon it. But what kind of fruit does that produce? What could have happened with some of my relationships if I had worked at it instead of deciding it wasn’t worth anything?