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Thursday, January 01, 2004

Strategic Friendships

Someone in our circle told my husband that he didn't have time for anything but strategic friendships. By that he meant a friendship with the goal of leading the person to Christ.

I instantaneously hated that term.

I have known Gina for about 7 years now, and she is one of my closest friends. Would I love to see here become a believer? Without a doubt. But I am her friend because I love her, care for her, and enjoy her. There is no ulterior motive.

I guess I took an instant dislike to the term because it brought to mind a certain person. I was fairly new in town, and she invited me to tea. I was excited - our kids went to school together, I liked her, I was hoping that this was the beginning of a new friendship. After 15 minutes of talking, she launched into - an Amway presentation. She had lured me there with a certain goal. When I made it clear I wasn't interested, the relationship was dropped. I will never forget the way that felt - being part of someone's agenda, being befriended for a reason that had not a whole lot to do with them liking me or caring for me.
And I have been encouraged by pastors over the years to do something similar - befriend someone for the sole reason of bringing them to Christ - friendship with an agenda. Now the background is different from Amway because there is concern for the person in that. It is not a selfish thing (well, it can be, I have definitely encountered the "notch in my belt" mentality, but it doesn't have to be). But people would still end up with the same feelings if they found out that there was a target to that friendship. I wonder how many people I have hurt over the years - especially in my teens, in that end-time focussed church, I was obnoxious. I was so sure that Jesus was coming soon, that all that mattered was getting people "saved". It wasn't selfish - but neither was it good.

I want real relationships, real friendships. No agenda.

posted by Birgit
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