Healthy Same Sex Friendships

This week our TBGL peer groups are talking about healthy same sex friendships.  It’s something we don’t often talk about; perhaps we consider it a non-issue or perhaps we are slightly embarrassed about our lack of close and intimate relationships with those of the same sex?

On personal reflection, I recognise that I often put up barriers to becoming close to another woman.  It’s not a sexual thing, I have no fears or concerns about being attracted to them, it’s more about vulnerability in intimacy and fear of judgment from others.  For judgment, perhaps read “jumping to conclusions”.  Is my fear driven by the fact I think others will say I have fallen back into my old ways?

We considered two biblical friendships, interestingly enough both of which are often used by the affirming church to try to suggest that homosexuality was championed in the Bible, namely the friendships between David and Jonathan and that between Ruth and Naomi.  As part of the study, we asked the question, “Are there aspects of these Biblical friendships that you would like to emulate in your own friendships?”

That put me to thinking, and the answer was a categorical yes.  I look at the love of David and Jonathan, a love untainted by a society like ours that suggests any form of intimacy between men is sexual. I am touched by the fact that they were able to express their love with no fear of judgment.  Their goal was to champion each other and to build each other up in God.

1 Samuel 23:16 – Tells us that Jonathan helped David to find strength in God and in the following verse he honours David above himself saying, “You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you.”
 
That changes my perspective on friendship, for it’s not about me and my needs, but about mutual building up and championing each other as sisters or brothers in Christ.  It doesn’t matter what people think or say, God sees the heart and has ordained same sex friendships as something that is good.

When I think of Ruth and Naomi I see affection, trust and openness.  Those attributes to a friendship require vulnerability from both sides.  Let’s not forget that Naomi renamed herself “Mara”, meaning bitter, giving us an insight into her mental state.  Yet still Ruth devoted herself to their friendship.  This makes me want to work harder at the friendships which are difficult, rather than closing doors or fleeing.  Through their example I see the benefit of working through the tough times together so that both members of the friendship emerge stronger and closer over time.

For some of us, same sex friendships may feel risky, particularly if we are still experiencing SSA, yet finding good Christian friends is so important.  We all need an Aaron or Hur in times of struggle, a David or Jonathan to champion our testimony and a Ruth or Naomi who will walk with us through times of deep pain and not drop us when we turn bitter or unforgiving.

Dostoevsky said this, “To love a person is to see him as God intended him to be”.
 
May that be at the forefront of our minds as we pursue Godly Christian friendships with courage and confidence.

If you are a Christian who experiences or has experienced SSA and feel you would benefit from Bible study and community with other like -minded Christians, please get in touch with us via our contact page.

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