The Architecture of Friendships

I am a suburban nomad. I just moved.

It’s a hassle. Life is boxed, shipped, unboxed. It comes with promises to give more away and live with less. The irritation with moving leads to the one real basic question – why does anyone do this? And one of the answers is, design. When we live in a house that suits our needs, life flows. When built the right way, good design makes life easier.

Lately, my thoughts around design have migrated from the physical side to the spiritual side of design, and to one area in particular – friendships. Often we think of friendships as random, happenstance encounters in which there is either affinity or not. If there is similarity – location, place in life, interests, vocation – a friendship is more likely, or so we think. My thoughts, though, have changed. Maybe friendship works better if not random, but designed?

As a Christian, Jesus sets the standard. For instance, when Jesus traveled through Jericho he reached out to a tax-collector named Zacchaeus. Jesus, in fact, calls out to him and invites himself over saying – Zacchaeus, I am going to stay in your house today.  He opens friendship’s door.

His ask is intriguing.

As a tax collector, Zacchaeus would be viewed as a traitor. Jesus calls him a child of Abraham – perhaps literally or by the good within him – but he was likely a local, collecting taxes for the Roman empire which was a recipe for hatred. Furthermore, taxes and corruption went hand in hand back in the day. Bribery, political promises, backroom deals, and other scandal probably made Zacchaeus rich. When Jesus said, I am staying in your house today, everyone in Jericho knew that house and despised the one inside.

Enter Jesus.

And here is what drives me nuts about him – he intentionally went into Zacchaeus’ house. Jesus knew there was a lot not to like about Zacchaeus. He knew his reputation and the facts that likely backed it up. But he also knew there was something in him worth saving, and as a result he asked himself over and walked right through the door.

This is our example. Befriend those you like. Befriend those you don’t. God is working to save each, and through this kind of architecture in our friendships a Kingdom is being built that will serve His needs and ours well.

(thank you for reading, if you found Jesus in this please share, subscribe, friend, and follow)

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