The sermon at church this morning was about who Jesus selected as his friends. He shocked the religious leaders by eating with the sinning, cussing, drunk and cheating crowd. He chose smelly fisherman, unethical tax collectors, crazy rebels and prostitutes as the leaders of his ministry team. Jesus makes me grin. Sounds like fun.
One of the stops on our recent trip was to Key West. I was the only one in our traveling party who was excited about the fact that Key West is home to the Hemingway House and Museum. I so love Hemingway. He was a complete mess. Married four times. Violent and drunk. Suicide. But oh my. He could write.
I paid the $12 to tour the Hemingway house, my husband and friends chose to pass. I wandered the grounds and listened to the slightly drunk tour guide. Seemed sadly fitting. I took obligatory pictures of the six toed cats. I wandered through the house and peered into where he wrote, looked through the titles in his private library and I bought one of his books in the gift shop. Had a mojito in the bar next door.
I read through my new book on the deck of the ship and thought about why I love Hemingway. He wrote tightly and truthfully. I hurt for his characters and wonder at his talent. I read Hemingway because I know people like him and his books help me see the world from their eyes. And his flaws and pain don’t make his value less. I feel about Hemingway how I feel about Van Gogh. Amazed at what they created. Sad at what they lost. I would have loved to be friends with either.
Seems like sometimes its easier to look past flaws in famous people but not in our peers. Our society has forgotten how to be friends with people who are not like us. It’s easy to value someone just like you. But it’s vibrant and exciting and challenging and fun to befriend someone who is totally different. It does not diminish your faith or your political affiliation or your sports team to be friends with the opposing side. You are not a traitor to your cause because you are nice to someone who disagrees. Here’s a little lesson I’m trying to drill into my kids – You don’t have to agree with someone to be their friend.
There are some things you do have to do to be a good friend.
Hurt when they hurt.
Cheer when they have joy.
Give grace when you don’t agree.
Eat food together.
Seriously. Food is part of the friendship equation. Over food you can better see the humanness and heart of your companions. Maybe its because food makes us slow down. Or perhaps because eating requires putting your phone down. Don’t believe me? Try it – make dinner and invite someone over who votes differently or sins differently than you. You’ll be surprised. My guess is you’ll have a great time.
At any rate, Jesus shocked the temple leaders and ate with sinners. And they left everything to follow Him. In our friendships, occasionally you can persuade change in your friends because trust and understanding have blossomed. And better yet, sometimes your friends change you.
I’m grateful Jesus befriended me. Bet it would have shocked some. I believe that Jesus loves everyone. Me. Hemingway. You. And He built us all with beauty inside. Sometimes it is corrupted and scared. We all lose our way. We can all use a friend.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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