Here is a recap of these powerful posts by five different pastors this week.
"These four things–power, shame, independence, and fear–are what Jesus calls us to break down so we can get to the better thing–love. Humility, grace, trust, and peace (the key elements of friendship) are all part of love and antidotes to power, shame, independence, and fear."
"Friends? Yes, of course, I have female friends. No, we’re not just friends. Come on, now. Just deprecates friendship itself. I don’t have any just friends (even though they are justified people) of either biological designation. And close friendships usually start with a spiritual connection. It’s something we perceive in each other. Pains to be touched with healing, needs to be filled, all the highs and lows of life to be shared, dreams and hopes and eternity. And we trust that the potentials of our relationship are a gift from God, even as God gifts us for and with each other."
"The goal is not simply to have men and women working side by side on the same committees or leading small groups together. To fully live out the interdependent nature of our Triune God, we need to understand and be understood by each other. We need to know and be known, love and be loved. We need to be friends."
"Pastoral relationships between men and women can suffer a similar fate when boundaries have a dominating force over the relationship. Where there is fear, there is no mutual trust. Where there is no trust, there can be no ministry. Building trust is process of hundreds of small positive interactions. Yet sadly, sometimes trust does not progress solely because we are afraid of the other gender and afraid of ourselves with the other gender."
"Mark and I have both seen cross-gender friendship go south in the absence of healthy boundaries, clear communication, and emotional maturity. Healthy crossgender friendships just aren’t possible without all three of those things - but there’s something about healthy friendships that God uses to mend our hearts from all kinds of brokenness."