Friendship should create space for healing

Over the next few days we’re telling a story about a couple of friends using fake names. Feel free to get caught up before reading.

About ten years ago Igor was in a bad way. He had wrecked his credit, blown up his marriage and lost a job in a fit of temper. Igor doubled down on his losing ways and started drinking heavily. He had a car accident while impaired, totaled his vehicle and ended up with the appropriate legal consequences.

Boris, who had his own history with failure, took Igor in. Gave him a job. Required him to pay rent. Expected him to go to meetings and weekly counseling sessions. To Igor’s credit, he not only complied with Boris’ requests - he embraced them. It took a year, but Igor recovered his life. He eventually started his own business, bought a home and found a community where he could do life with and love others.

Boris stood by his friend in ways that supported healing. He did not exacerbate the problem; he encouraged Igor on his road back to wellness. This is labor intensive work. It required a village to brainstorm and look for solutions that inevitably included some tough conversations and plenty of hugs.

But none of this was convenient or easy. It is only thinking about this a decade later that the story sounds so wonderful - a real testimony to the promise and hope that is found when people love God and serve others.

The year itself was touch-and-go every step of the way. It was messy. There were conflicts, behind the scenes come-to-Jesus meetings. Conflict. Three steps forward and two steps backward - for all the parties involved.

Scott McBean recently delivered a weekend message and said this: “We all think we deserve better than we get.” Ouch.

Boris and Igor’s excellent adventure was only excellent if we talk about it using a highlight reel. The actual journey was a cliffhanger and the outcome was always uncertain. In fact, the story continues and the outcome is as uncertain today as it was a decade ago. This is life. This story does not make for particularly inspiring quips and quotes unless you are willing to live with half-truths.

Tomorrow, we are going to further unpack this idea that Boris and Igor and our community must wrestle with this mistaken notion that “we all deserve better than we get.”

For today, think about how your own EXPECTATIONS have led you astray. It might look like blaming, it might look like controlling behaviors, it might look like bouts of melancholy, it might look like over- or even under-achieving. How has your own feeling of entitlement hurt you and others?