I know a lot of young, single people in DC who live alone. It’s not something I would choose, even if my paycheck allowed for it (no signs of that anytime soon).
Our generation continues to figure out what living out the twenties means (prolonged singleness, more travel, job exploration, etc.). But it shouldn’t be a lonely road. God doesn’t call us to solitude; he calls us to community. I believe we are called to explore our twenties in the context of friendship – leaning on one another for love, truth and support.
In DC, where so many people travel to live and work in the nation’s capital, friendship becomes paramount. It’s why Thanksgiving is so often referred to here as “Friendsgiving.” Friends truly become extended family.
We just wrapped up a series at church called “One Another.” I started asking myself, “In a circle of friends, what does it mean to biblically love one another?”
1. Friends extend grace to one another. Friendships – like family relationships – aren’t always a walk in the park. Sometimes I am cranky, and sometimes I forget to unload the dishwasher. For my own imperfections, I am reminded of the need to extend grace to others. I thank God that I have friends and roommates who show grace to me when I am frustrated or overwhelmed (Love your neighbor as yourself – Mark 12:31).
2. Friends honor and encourage one another. Pastor Mark suggests that encouragement is the very foundation of a relationship. Whether an extra smile, or a “thank you,” sometimes it’s the little things. Last week, my roommate left a pack of earplugs on my desk because she knows I’m easily awakened. It totally made my day.
A special note here on encouraging the opposite gender: I believe men have a responsibility to women (and vice versa) to encourage one other with honorable actions and behavior. It’s really another post for another time, but in word or in deed, we should never tear down, and always build up (Encourage one another, and build each other up. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ).
3. Friends hold one another to a higher standard. It’s easy to gloss over the tough stuff and pretend that everything is peachy-keen. But we also need to speak truth into one another’s lives – even if it is a truth that someone doesn’t want to hear. In fact, it is a sign of spiritual growth (Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. – Ephesians 4:15).
I am so thankful everyday for the friends who love and support me, for the friends who speak hard truths I may not want to hear, for friends who expect my very best — and then some — because that’s what God calls us to. For all the inconvenience and mess of community, it is also a picture of the Gospel.
PS: I encourage you – no pun intended – to listen to “The Art of Encouragement” sermon from National Community Church.