Charles and Eric

I’ve always thought that I don’t choose my friends. I am friends with anyone who wants to be my friend. If you’re talking to me, I will talk to you. And once I consider you a friend, you’re a friend for life. And this seemed the right way to do things.

Maybe I was wrong.

I’ve always thought the details of friendship didn’t matter, friendship should resemble a mother’s unconditional love. How often you meet up, what activities you do or don’t do together, your likes ,dislikes and beliefs, they shouldn’t really matter. I’m not going to renounce a friendship just because a friend likes music I hate or adopts a life philosophy that’s different from mine. Friends means friends, right?

Maybe that’s wrong.

Recently, a Christian friend of mine was discussing the idea that Christians should surround themselves with other Christians… that they should spend more time with fellow Christians, that their closest friends should be Christian. Her point of view was that it was only natural and common sense: you would hang out with people who shared common goals and ideas with yourself. If you wanted to be better at basketball, you’d hang out with other people who similarly wanted to train their basketball skills. If you were concerned with having a life centred on Christ, only other Christians could help you with that. She also linked me to this article, Should Christians be Friends with Non-Christians.

I found the article horrendously offensive, and I was really hurt and offended by what she was saying. That view is ridiculously discriminatory, selfish and elitist, I argued. And if you were to apply that kind of logic to any other situation, any other group of people, you would think so too.

But… maybe I was wrong.

Maybe she was right.

Maybe some differences are too fundamental that you have to draw a line to avoid compromising on your own values. Maybe you should consciously surround yourself with positive people, with people who have the right ideas.

Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr were good friends. But their differing beliefs put them at direct odds with each other. They turned from friends to enemies, not because they couldn’t get along or because they didn’t care for each other, but solely because they had opposing view points.

If you find yourself and a friend on the opposite sides of an issue — an issue that you feel strongly about and will not compromise on– can you still be friends?

What do you think?


Anger is a sword

I’ve never been so angry in my life.
Such intense anger for such an extended period of time.
And I am not, by nature, a person who gets angry often or easily.

I’ve never felt so much hate in my life.
Such intense hatred and for such an extended period of time.
And I am not, by nature, a person who hates anything at all usually, unless it’s in the trivial sense of ‘hating the weather’ or ‘hating being bored or feeling awkward.’ and I’ve certainly never truly hated any person.

It sounds poisonous. It sounds the total opposite of my usual philosophies which always emphasize being positive, giving the benefit of the doubt, seeing from the other’s perspective, live and let live and not sweating the small stuff.

But anger is a sword. Out of control, it can kill indiscriminately. In control, it can win a war, protect loved ones, fight for meaningful causes. It’s only when you are angered by the injustices in the world do you bother to take a stand. Anger can be a powerful tool. And I am so very angry right now.

(I suppose there’s a huge difference between righteous anger and bitter, resentful anger. But people can kill millions of innocents in their ill-directed righteous anger, and petty bitter anger can direct and drive you to battle larger issues. So how much does the source matter?)