October 1, 2014

An interview with pastor Bill Hybels on the secrets for living life with more energy, focus, and peace. Bill is the author of Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul. 

A widely misunderstood word, if you can believe it, is the word ‘friend.’ We all think we know what that word means, but I find that people will say to me, “I’ve got a friend, and whenever I’m with them, we go drinking, or we go out and do this or that, and terrible things happen.” And then they go, “but they’re still my friend.”

And I go, “How are you defining what friendship really means?” The way I understand it, a friend really cares about the future and well-being of the other friend. Isn’t that really what’s at the root of it? A friend wants what’s best for you. A friend will always want you to make wise choices, not foolish choices. They’re willing to say difficult things to you. They’re willing to stop certain behaviors and patterns if they think they are contributing to your demise.

So be real careful how you use the word ‘friend.’ Be real careful about who you consider your true friends are. Do they have your well-being in mind? Do you have their well-being in mind? It’s really important to get a grasp on this.

Something that’s very painful to talk about – and no one gets any joy in a conversation like this – is the idea of actually pruning some of your friendships. Actually going to some people who you realize don’t have your well-being in mind. They’ve kind of got a different agenda for your future. And they don’t really probably care about you. They’re maybe a bit narcissistic, and they’ve got another plan.

Sometimes this leads to the breaking, the pruning, of a friendship. Very difficult. In some cases, tragically sad. Other times, this actually leads to an opportunity to reconsider the path that he or she is on, and to say, maybe I’ll join you on your path for a while and see if we can do this together. But one thing is for sure, that if you have a friendship and you are on divergent paths, it’s going to take a conversation to sort out what needs to happen.

The psalmist certainly got it right in Psalm 133:1. He says, “It’s one of the most beautiful and richest experiences in life when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity.” Not just the absence of division, but unity is spirit, unity in soul, unity in self disclosure where you are known and are being known, where you love and are being loved, where you are being celebrated, and are serving one another.

See Part 4, Overcoming Fear from our interview with pastor Bill Hybels.