There is no feeling like someone opening up to you, right? The sweeping joy of intimacy, acceptance, and trust. Most everyone appreciates a nice two-hour-long conversation late at night where you really “get to know someone’s heart.” Everyone appreciates an acquaintance recounting a period of struggle they are exiting (or even in the midst of) with painful detail and hopeful motifs of gospel redemption.
If some of us are honest, it’s exhausting. Having to repeat a story of sorrow to someone you don’t know all that well, letting them into details of your life because they asked, “how are you?” and as their brother or sister in Christ you don’t want to lie and say, “I’m good.”
By no means is honesty bad. Honesty is invaluable. Moreover, the fact that we can be fully vulnerable with people at Covenant on the basis of shared conviction is indeed a luxury and a beautiful thing. However, that does not mean that you have an obligation to be vulnerable with every person that wears a warm smile and shares something about their lives with you. We have friends and that’s great, but we also have close friends.
Those close friends are the ones we cry with, the ones we yank aside when they are trying to put their shoulder down and plow through the gauntlets of sorrow or anger or unrepentance. Those are the people with whom we share the deepest intimacy of friendships. But not everyone is in that circle. You have friends who, to be frank, you are just not that close with. You may love them dearly, and spend plenty of time with them, but they might not be the best person to “open up” to, because you don’t have that kind of relationship.
There are a lot of quality people at Covenant, complex people with fascinating talents or interests that are different than you. Thus, it is often hard to resist or withhold from great people that you would love to get to know. But you are not obligated to be best friends with everyone. Furthermore, it’s not healthy to demand that of yourself. It’s not healthy to let everyone into every detail of your life all of the time. That kind of trust is built upon a relationship that is complete with effort coming from both ends. You don’t have to lie to everyone, but you don’t have to tell everyone everything.
Have close friends. Let people see the fullness of your humanity. Share with those people the depths of your being that you don’t even quite understand. But let those be your outlets for such things. Try to love your neighbor, but loving them does not demand that you try to get coffee with them and seven other people every week just because they are nice and you talk sometimes. It’s nice to open up, but you can be closed too.