I am enjoying reading a slim book called Face to Face: Meditations on Hospitality and Friendship by a pastor named Steve Wilkins. I am still in the “friendship” section, and have benefitted from the clear, wise, Biblical counsel found there. Wilkins is particularly gifted at bringing the Biblical teaching into the sphere of real life. He draws heavily from the book of Proverbs as he speaks about the sort of people we should seek out as worthy friends, as well as what we should expect from friends who are either more, less, or equally mature with us. Here is one reflection on having realistic expectations for our friendships:
“I find that many Christians do not think realistically about friends, and because they think so idealistically about friends, and because they have such idealized expectations, they end up disappointed with most of their relationships. Not only is it impossible to be intimate with a large number of people, it is wearisome and distasteful. It sounds nice in the abstract, but no human being can bear the reality of it. We simply do not have the capacity for such an undertaking: it would completely drain us emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically. Neither do we have the time for it. Intimates can make heavy demands on us, and we ought to respond by freely giving them our time and attention. Such generosity is impossible if there are too many of them.”
Steve Wilkins, Face to Face: Meditations on Christian Friendship (Moscow, ID: Canon, 2001), 44.