Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:25-29
Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29
WHEN AARON’S youth pastor divided his mission team into twosomes for what he called “Care and Share,” Aaron revolted. He wanted nothing to do with anything called “Care and Share,” and he didn’t try to hide his disgust. “Girls talk,” he argued. “Guys don’t. Can I go now? When will this be over?”
If you think you can make solid friendships without ever talking about solid stuff, then you might as well try to make friends with a wall. Friendships need talk time to grow. The deeper you go into your life-feelings, joys, fears-the deeper your friendship grows. Someone has categorized communication into five levels. If you want to cultivate close friendships, here’s where you head:
Level 1: Surface topics. Conversation never gets beyond social courtesy. It sounds like, “Hi, how’s it going?” “Fine, how about you?” “Good weather, huh?” “Yeah. Better than snow.” You might touch the surface of someone’s life at this level, but you will never really get to know him or her.
Level 2: Factual matters. You swap information about common interests-basketball, clothing styles, school subjects, music groups, etc. But conversation is still impersonal. You’re talking about stuff, not how you feel about it.
Level 3: Opinions. You reach this level by sharing your thoughts and ideas about factual matters. If you discuss the scores, you talk about your favorite play of the game. If you discuss music groups, you share what you think about the lyrics on a particular CD. Opinions help friends start to know how the other views life. This level moves closer to more personal issues, but it’s still basically safe conversation.
Level 4: Emotions. At this level, you are talking about how you feel about factual matters. “When that happened, I was really scared!” “This has been the loneliest week of my life.” “Since Noah broke up with me, I’ve been totally sad.” Here’s where you begin to get insights into personal life. You can see what goes on inside each other.
Level 5: Intimacy. This is complete, intimate openness about your life. You aren’t likely to practice this level of communication with anyone but trusted family members and close, special friends. You trust them so completely that you can be totally open about yourself. That kind of friend lets you cut through surface conversation and get down to honest, transparent talk.
REFLECT: Do you have friends you feel safe sharing your feelings with? Do you have at least one intimate friend-someone you can share almost anything with?
PRAY: If you have found some of those rare friends, thank God right now. If not, ask God to guide you to those special people.