Authentically Honest Relationships

three young women

Recently, one of my friends reached out to me after a few months of us not really contacting each other. Nothing bad had happened between us, but a period of change had come upon us in the form of moving homes, towns, and churches. It’s easy to lose touch with someone we don’t see on a regular basis. We like to convince ourselves that the smartphones ever attached to our hands keep us connected with others. But truthfully, it becomes so much easier to give a person a passing thought (“Oh, I should text her soon.”) and then go about our days until a few months have passed and we wonder what could have happened to the time.

My friend was a bit offended that she hadn’t heard from me since the “Big Move,” and I didn’t blame her. Promises of keeping in touch and hanging out were made but not kept, as they should have been. Instead, I told myself that she was really busy moving and acclimating to a new time in her life so I should give her a little breathing room. And honestly, I had several not-always-pleasant changes going on in my life as well.

I can’t pinpoint exactly what went wrong with our communication. But what I do know is that if I had tried to worm my way out of being accountable or blow it off by saying I had just been really busy, then I would have seriously cheapened a friendship I cherish. Instead, I opened up to my friend about what I believed kept me from reaching out to her: believing her to need some space during her life changes and (out of pure exhaustion) not wanting to open up about some of the less-than-pleasant events I’d been experiencing lately.

What I came to learn is that honesty builds a bridge to reconciliation and reconnection. That’s why my friend reached out to me. Rather than blame me and be angry with me, she began by telling me why she hadn’t reached out to me either and how she felt God convicting her to do so. She realized, as I came to realize, that communication and honesty go both ways.

Honest communication leads the way to authentic relationships—and who doesn’t want that? When another person realizes the authenticity of your friendship, motives, and beliefs, you will build an important trust with him or her.

If you’re discussing Jesus’ saving love with someone who doesn’t know Him, then be honest about how your salvation has changed your life. Talk with the person, not at him or her. If you’re helping someone in need, then talk to him or her like a real person rather than a “charity case.” If you’re reconnecting with an important friend, then open up about your life and about what may have kept you apart.

No matter what, model your authentic relationships with others on the authentic relationship you have with Jesus Christ.

Jessica Graham is a copy editor at national WMU. She knows honesty isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. But then again, neither are authentic, meaningful relationships.

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