In less than a week, on March 1, it will be my birthday. (I’m turning 29 again, btw.) Three years ago, I was planning the CD release party of BURN IN HELL which would take place on my birthday. Knowing full well that there would be a large attendance of friends who wanted to wish me well on both accounts, I girded myself for the inevitable cake, Birthday serenade, and gifts that would have to be opened in a public setting.
When I walked into the venue I was hit with a blessing of a different order. Many of my dear friends had conspired to hand me flowers upon my arrival in celebration of the song, FLOWERS from the new record, which had already become a concert staple. It was very moving because of its simplicity and sincerity. I have kept all of the flowers from that day.
What I haven’t kept are many of the relationships. In fact, only a very small few of these people remain in contact with me. There was no scandal to speak of, no falling outs, no red flags, and certainly no long goodbyes or much-warranted communication. Nope. The wind blew, the leaves were scattered and now I have an almost completely different “guest list” in my heart.
I’m saddened frequently by this. I very well aware that people change, lives change, paths shift, etc. But in the family of God, where we use the terms “family,” and “brother“ like the dictionary is bereft of other words, when separation occurs it doesn’t seem natural and without prayerful communication, it can be profoundly damaging.
Any pastor can tell you how many people flit in and out of their congregation, promising the moon in the form of physical and financial support only to disappear without warning or word. I’m convinced that this is not just human nature (which in of itself is evil enough) but it is sin in its most blatant form.
Too many scriptures admonish us to err on the side of peace, compassion and love. Too many scriptures point to our word, our character and our example. We are to be the leaders in the Love Movement and this includes being men and women of our word.
I’m not sure if I specifically did anything to drive off a room full of friends but if I did, a friend would have reached out to a brother struggling. I experienced an almost deafening silence and the few communications I had were peppered with lies and platitudes and a LOT of “We love yous.”
Well, where are you now?
I miss all of the friends I’ve had throughout my life, especially the ones I’ve made though this ministry. Friends who took me into their hearts and homes, built trust with my children and for whatever reason forgot what it meant to be my friend, brother, family, team or church.
I’m writing this today not to vent, but to stand in solidarity with many of you who have loved and lost without cause or explanation, that think at times that there is something wrong with you still feeling the pangs of unwarranted loss.
It’s easier to hand someone a flower, a gift or a line of bull then it is to stand by them even when they’ve wronged you, someone you love, or even God. But if you cannot stay standing, don’t call yourself friend, brother or family for that undermines the sacredness of those roles when you bail as soon as the wind changes.
Jesus said that a man has no greater love than to give up his life for his friends. He never said to run for your life when things don’t go as you expect with your friends.
No matter what I’ve ever said or done, Jesus has never vanished from my side. In fact, the worse I have been the more He has loved me through it. I’ll take that over a measly plastic flower with the faint memory of a ghost of an acquaintance any day.
But Jesus intended and still strives for more. In holding these flowers, I pray for reconciliation. Not just a pleasant chat but the fulfillment of promises made-especially in the name of God.
Why settle for anything less?