When I was in my early 20s, there was a young lady that was attending the local college who told me that I should go to college because it teaches how to get along with people. I had to chuckle since I was living with my brother, four sisters, and my mom at the time. If ever there was a setting where one could learn to get along, it is with 7 different people with different interests living under the same roof 24/7, and I didn’t have to pay thousands of dollars to learn that lesson. With a couple of my sisters, I am positive that, if we weren’t related, we would not be friends but God has been merciful, and I am blessed to have a good relationship with all of my siblings.
When we were growing up, my mom often stressed what she called “one anothering”–the act of putting others above ourselves. This is not an easy thing to do, even as an adult, but it is what Christ demonstrated. It is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. I mean, how better can God’s love shine through us?
My sister and I were recently discussing how some people can have lifelong relationships while others seem to have a hard time keeping friends. I think the primary reasons are that some are too easily offended or they don’t value the friendship to the degree they should so, when the “friend” does something they don’t like, instead of striving to work it out, they disappear. This is not what Jesus intended.
There are people that God specifically tells us to stay away from, so I am not suggesting that you are obligated to fight for friendship with every person that you know. But I am saying that a difference of opinion, even a strong one, is not automatically cause for separation. Sometimes, you must work through the situation and learn how to love that other person anyway. This will take a lot of help from the Holy Spirit but guess what? The Holy Spirit is in the business of helping people to love others.