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?