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Lets Talk: Building Friendships with People Unlike Yourself – The Gospel Coalition

The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

Jasmine Holmes: Hello and welcome to Let’s Talk, a podcast from The Gospel Coalition podcast network where we seek to apply biblical wisdom to everyday life. I’m Jasmine Holmes and I’m here with my friends, Jackie Hill Perry and Melissa Krueger.

Jasmine Holmes: A lot of topics we’ve discussed on this podcast have been things that are going to be part of our life whether we want them to or not. We all have to make decisions. We all face times of discontentment. Nobody wants to be hurt by other Christians in the church. But today’s topic is one that we can avoid if we choose to, but if we do, we will lose out on a spiritual blessing. So let’s talk about building and cultivating friendships with people who aren’t just like yourself. I’m excited about this one because my best friend in the whole entire world is CJ and CJ is, we’re the same age but she’s single. And she has just gotten into a relationship, so I’m excited about that. But it’s been fun too. I met her right after Phillip and I got married. Maybe like six months after we got married and we have been through so much together.

Jasmine Holmes: She came and brought me food when I was in labor with my firstborn. We taught together. So we saw each other every day for a year. At school, we’ve both moved cross country to different places and throughout the different seasons of our life have still still been able to maintain a really close friendship even though we live hundreds of miles away from each other now.

Jasmine Holmes: So I am interested in hearing the kinds of different relationships that you guys have with people who are not the same as you. Not in the same life stage, not the same ethnicity. Not the same age. All that good stuff.

Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. I think one the also, I think that’s one of the really cool parts of being a Christian is that I am legitimately friends with people that I would have never been friends with if I wasn’t. Yeah, in the body of Christ one I just wouldn’t have had access to the kinds of people that I have access to, but I don’t think I would have the power to be humble or to even see just a benefit to being with people that don’t act like, look like, sound like me.

Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. But it’s hard. I think one of the hardest things for me isn’t even ethnicity or age, but just personality. Like you could be, why are you…You could be a Korean, you could be from Scandinavia I don’t care. But when you are like, just so opposite, so like loud and excited and just don’t know how to calm down at time. Like those or needy. That’s a really difficult thing for me because I’m so to myself that when I have a friend that just kind of wants to hang out all the time, all the time, I was like, so those kinds of friendships are difficult, but I have them.

Melissa Kruger: Yeah. Oh those are, those were the more tricky ones for me. Too different. When you’re different in personality. I would say those pushed me more sometimes because I make judgements. The person who shows up 20 minutes late every time and you’re like, do you not care about me? Or leaves their child at your house an hour past when they said they would pick their child up and it just feels like they’re takers.

Jasmine Holmes: Maybe there’s all like as punctuality, all those things.

Melissa Kruger: Yeah, yeah. Just whatever ways you could be different. So it could be that person’s looking at me and saying, why isn’t she just more laid back about. And that person may not care that I leave my kid at their house an hour later. I need to try that more often. I should have tried to see the person to just-

Jasmine Holmes: Just let them know, it’s stuff like CJ is always late, like, and she will not mind me saying it. She knows, I know, we all know. And so when I visited her in DC and so I visited her in DC and she was like, okay, we’re going to go to this really cool. I think I may have mentioned once or twice that I kind of like houseplants we going to go to a plant nursery and we’re going to, there’s this whole event, like how to take care of whatever. And I was like, Oh, I’m so excited. And she said, yeah, I get off work at five, it starts at seven. It’s in Baltimore. And in my mind already, I was like, we’re not going to that.

Jackie Hill Perry: It’s not going to happen.

Jasmine Holmes: It’s not going to happen.

Jackie Hill Perry: That’s two hours.

Jasmine Holmes: It’s not going to happen, two hours to like to get off work. Come pick me up. Go. No, it’s not going to happen. But I was like, yeah, okay, let’s do it. Woo. So I go to Starbucks and I get comfortable. I bring a book

Melissa Kruger: That’s smart.

Jasmine Holmes: Yeah. Because I just know that we’re not, like this is not the plan that we’re going to have and it’s fine and she really thinks that it’s what we’re going to do. Like she’s committed. But she got there like 35 minutes after it started and was like, let’s go to Baltimore. Maybe we can make it. And was like, we can hang out in Baltimore but we’re not going to make, we’re not going to walk in it. But it did take, like it’s taken us getting to know each other and getting used to each other and just kind of learning each other’s rhythms. So I relate to the punctuality thing. Definitely.

Jackie Hill Perry: When it comes to, I guess your friendships with people that are different from you. I think you have the people who they think they are discerning or observing this personality type from afar. And so it’s like, ah, I’m not even want to build a relationship with you. So, are you that kind of person or are you the person who when you get into the relationship you realize, Oh, we are so opposite. Do you lean into that or do you just say, ah, I don’t think I want to be your friend in the same way that I thought I wanted to be your friend.

Melissa Kruger: I will normally be friends with almost anyone. I really do. I find people pretty interesting. Just wherever, whatever they’re like wherever they are and I feel like, you said about Christians when we have lived in foreign countries or traveled. When I get in a church, I tell you there is a DNA or whatever spirit DNA of Christians that the smile and the welcome is you’re like you’re my brother and sister and I find that almost more proof of the Spirit’s work than anything else because I can go to a church in all these other continents and feel like I’m home.

Jackie Hill Perry: It’s fellowship. Literally. It is a shared commonality between you even though we know nothing about each other.

Melissa Kruger: Yeah. The hard for me is when trust gets broken and not just once, but over and over. I mean you feel like that person interprets you wrongly.

Jackie Hill Perry: That is hard.

Melissa Kruger: Gossips about you or says you’re this way or that way. Those are where I get a little bit, I back off.

Jackie Hill Perry: I think the sticky thing is when your trust is connected to expectations, you have that really just aligned with your own personality.

Jackie Hill Perry: I am a very, like consistency matters to me, loyalty matters to me. And I think a lot of that might be personality, but also my upbringing. I think my dad was so inconsistent that to me, that read as you don’t love me, my mother was super consistent, which reads as you love me, you care for me. And so in friendships, when I spot a hint of inconsistency, it just throws me off. And so I have a friend who is that way. Like she will text you and say, Hey, let’s hang out on Thursday. Thursday comes can’t hang out or we’ll text you, Hey, I’m coming over at six. Doesn’t text or call because she forgot. So those kinds of things. So I say that to say I’ve had to train myself to realize that she’s not breaching my trust because she does love me. She does care for me. She just doesn’t know how to love me and care for me in the way that I expect. Doesn’t make sense?

Jasmine Holmes: No, that makes total sense. That makes total sense. I go to therapy every couple of weeks and I don’t cry in therapy and I don’t really like to, I don’t cry. So my therapist was like, it’s okay, you can cry it almost like you’d like that wouldn’t you? It’s your power play. And I’m like, it’s not going to happen. I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to cry. So we’re talking about a friend in a situation with a friend. That was really hard for me. My friend is a huge words of encouragement person. I don’t like words of encouragement very much. I don’t, and it can come off kind of like, Oh I don’t like them, like keep giving them to me.

Jasmine Holmes: But like honestly I just feel like people, people say nice things all the time that they don’t mean just to make conversation or fill empty space. And I am assuming when people are encouraging that that’s what they’re doing. My friend is… Jasmine I just love you so much. I just appreciate everything you do. You are the wind beneath my wings.

Melissa Kruger: Could she be my friend?

Jasmine Holmes: I mean she is like,

Melissa Kruger: I need a word of encouragement.

Jasmine Holmes: If you sit with that encouragement, but kind of similar to what you said, Jackie, like she’s not able to do a lot of things, when it’s time to make plans, she’s busy. When it’s time to get together, she has to cancel. Her husband has a really crazy work schedule and so she doesn’t get to see him that often. So when he’s available she like chucks the duces at me and goes and hangs out with him, which I understand because she never gets to see him.

Jasmine Holmes: But I understand it like in my head. But in my heart it can feel like, Oh like, okay, well if you don’t want to be friends that’s fine. But she’s like, I love you. And so I was sitting in therapy and I was talking to my therapist about this and I was like, yeah, let’s really like get into this. And she was like, why don’t you like words of encouragement? And I almost cried. I didn’t cry because strong. Okay, we’re working on that in therapy, we’re working on that. We’re working on-

Jackie Hill Perry: It’s either one.

Jasmine Holmes: Maybe a little bit of both.

Melissa Kruger: We’re going to get her to cry.

Jasmine Holmes: Just like burst into tears. But she was like, why don’t you like words of encouragement? And I said, because talk is cheap and people say whatever. And I didn’t know that about myself.

Jasmine Holmes: My friend didn’t know that about myself. But it really helped me to understand this thing about myself where I have been hurt by people in the past who say that they love me but don’t actually, and don’t show up when they say they’re going to show up and don’t show up in my life in those ways. And I did not even realize that my friend’s difference of personality was so hard for me because of something that was going on inside of me. In fact, I didn’t even realize that it was hard for me until I started talking to my therapist and learning more about myself. And it was really helpful to know that about myself. Which brings me to how does knowing yourself help you to have friendships with people who are different from you?

Melissa Kruger: That’s a really good question because I think one thing I typically do is say, well this is how I would love them. And so I’m really looking at the world through a very self centered lens most of the time. And so it’s actually been helpful. I do think personality tests are kind of helpful. And I remember one time years ago, my husband and I both had to take one for work and I read his personality profile and I was like, there’s a whole group of people like you.

Melissa Kruger: I’ve been trying to change you for years. I was really, Oh, it’s who you, I mean, in some sense this is the baseline of kind of where you were from, not that people can’t change and we can’t grow and that we should be able to tell a friend, Hey, it hurt me when you said you were going to come. And then you didnt. I think there’s communication there, but it did help me to know. It wasn’t kind of purposefully trying to hurt me. And that’s really different.

Jasmine Holmes: That doesn’t mean they’re a bad person or an unfaithful person or-

Melissa Kruger: And so knowing myself, but also just knowing there really are these other personalities out there that really helped me to just shift and say, Oh, this isn’t about me.

Jackie Hill Perry: Because I think the tension in building relationships with people that are different is that I think to your point about us seeing things from a self certain lens is that we really do want people made in our image and not God’s. And so because they are made in God’s image and not ours, it means that they reflect him more than they’re going to reflect me, which is complicated. So they can reflect him as being creative or whatever. The fact that like you can look at them and see or know that there is a creator, but at the same time, it doesn’t mean that they liked the same music I like. It doesn’t mean that they think the same way that I think, doesn’t mean that they structured it like I… And so I have to be much more gracious to the people that God has made like himself, even though they aren’t like me.

Jackie Hill Perry: That’s unfair because I wouldn’t dare want anybody to have those kinds of expectations of me because I’m like, I don’t have the same parents as you. I didn’t grew up around the same city as you, all got the same trauma won’t even eat the same. I like black coffee. You over here eating tea, I mean that’s Jasmine, with milk in it. I just don’t get it.

Melissa Kruger: I just like put milk in your tea?

Jackie Hill Perry: Doesn’t make sense. It’s like juice and milk.

Jasmine Holmes: You’re going to move to Charlotte.

Melissa Kruger: I want to, you can have tea every morning.

Jackie Hill Perry: Especially if it’s macha. Oh my gosh.

Melissa Kruger: What about you?

Jackie Hill Perry: Oh, I don’t understand you people but we’re friends. Look at that.

Jasmine Holmes: I know, see we are different.

Jackie Hill Perry: Bring them back around.

Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, I’ve even learned that learning more about my friends and learning more about myself helps me to meet them where they are sometimes. So my friend who loves words of encouragement, she came over the other day. We’re sitting on the couch together. She loves words of encouragement and she likes touch. Like she always sits really close…

Melissa Kruger: Oh my God.

Jasmine Holmes: And like that would be hard for me. I am a 10 like a account hug. So if I’m hugging somebody, I’m like one, two, three. Like I did it, I did it, I’m good. I hugged you and I will hug you like you. Like are you a hugger? Are you not? I will hug you. It’s going to be a three second hug. Just that’s just how it is.

Jasmine Holmes: So my friend comes over and she’s sitting next to me and I grabbed her hand and I was like, I have something to say to you. And she was like, okay, I couldn’t look at her when I said it because it just felt too, like it was too touchy. It’s too much. But I was like, I have something to say to you. I really love you. I’m really glad that we’re spending time together today. Thank you for coming over. Release hand. Put it back in my lap and she was like, I looked up at her and she has like tears in her eyes and she’s like, I know that, that was really hard. Like I know that was a lot for you. And I was like, what? Like even for me to say, she’ll be like, Oh, I love you. And I’m like, I love your face.

Jasmine Holmes: But knowing that about myself and knowing how she receives love, help me to show it to her in that way. And it’s just that like, it’s that give and take. And I think we want friendships that are easy for us, where we communicate in the same language, where we don’t have to bridge that gap of different ways of doing things where we’re just the same because that means that we don’t have to work and we don’t have to grow.

Jackie Hill Perry: We really won’t grow.

Melissa Kruger: Okay. Let me ask this question. So we live even in a church culture that can get really divisive. I mean just look on Twitter, but it can be divisive on lots of things that sometimes they can feel more core to our identity than Christ. Yeah. I mean, whether it’s our political stance, whether it’s the color of our skin, whether it’s how we school homeschool or school or children or whatever. Why do you think those things become these really divisive things in relationships and how can we fight them with the fact that we’re a family as Christians? Like we should look different. I get why the world is all a mess with us. Right? But often the church just looks just as messy as the world. How can we, by the Spirit’s power live differently?

Jackie Hill Perry: I think we are naturally tribal because I think being tribal in that, like I want to connect with people like me, think like me, look like me, respect what I expect, love what I love. That’s a part of community, but I think it can be a perversion of community and so it’s like where it becomes exclusive. I think though, the way the press against it is to recognize that God wants to use a variety of means to grow you and help you see the world and help you see a life and stuff.

Melissa Kruger: That’s so good because I’m so limited. I had one experience growing up and while it was, a suburban white girl experience and some-

Jasmine Holmes: Oh me too.

Jackie Hill Perry: Suburban black.

Jasmine Holmes: Suburban black, but all around the white girls.

Melissa Kruger: Yes. You know, but my experience could be really different than my friend Betsys experience. So it’s really difficult. We want us sometimes categorize people as, Oh, you’re this, so you must be this way without ever listening to their story and saying, what was your experience like? Because your all experiences were completely different. And so someone could say, Oh, I’m going to just look at the color of your skin and say you’re this way. But that’s not loving someone.

Jackie Hill Perry: No, it’s not.

Jasmine Holmes: Not at all.

Jackie Hill Perry: I have a question for you. Because sometimes I think even, and I say this with all the kindness of my heart, but white people can look at black people and think that black people are a monolith. Like they all think the same, like the same stuff. Y’all both want to bring fried chicken to the cook out, that type of stuff. So like me and you are different though we are ethnically the same. And so have you had even difficulties building relationships with black women, that are different from you because of how you were raised? Explain.

Jasmine Holmes: So when I was growing up, I was raised like I was the only black girl in my class all the time. I always tell people, like whenever you talk about there’s this thing that some of our white brothers and sisters in Christ do, or when they’re talking to a black person, they’ll say, Oh yeah, I have a black friend.

Jasmine Holmes: And my joke is like, yeah, that’s me. Like they’re talking about me. And because of my upbringing and different cultural experiences that I had in my past, it’s only been as an adult woman that I have actually had friendships with other black women.

Jackie Hill Perry: Interesting.

Jasmine Holmes: Most of my friendships growing up were with white people.

Jackie Hill Perry: So your life has kind of been building relationships with people unlike you?

Jasmine Holmes: Yes.

Jackie Hill Perry: But kind of similar to you.

Jasmine Holmes: Yes. Yeah.

Jackie Hill Perry: Culturally.

Jasmine Holmes: And it’s so funny because it creates this kind of sense of like never really belonging anywhere because I did grow up in white suburban culture. But Jackie, you and I both know that no matter how hard we try to assimilate, we’re still black at the end of the day. And so there was always this sense of I’m different, like my hair is different, my skin is different. Even I look at memes from memes and black Twitter have been such a bomb to me.

Jasmine Holmes: It’s so funny because people will talk about like their Thanksgiving growing up or the shows they watch on TV or black mama memes or my favorite thing in all of creation. And I’ll be like, Oh, somebody else. Like, Oh, we were having the same childhood. Like even though I didn’t know you and I couldn’t talk to you because I was surrounded by Stephanie and Becky who were lovely. Keysha was having the same childhood that I was having and it’s just been such a like, Oh so good. And my husband always laughs at me because I’ll be like, I’ll talk to you talking about a new friend, I’ll be excited. He’ll be like, she’s black, isn’t she? I’m like, okay, but this is not something that had, so I am extra excited. And even my husband, meeting my husband and married my husband, I’m married to a black man, which none of us thought was going to happen because of my surroundings and it’s just been such a sweet blessing.

Melissa Kruger: One of the only times in my life, because I did grow up in suburbia, I was majority culture. So I normally felt at ease in my situations. I didn’t have many situations where I grew up feeling different. I mean, although we all feel different at some level, I think that’s core to who we are because you’re different personality. My brother was a boy, so I was different than him. I think at some level we all feel that, but when I really started to experience what it can feel like to feel different culturally, with the place you’re living is when I lived overseas and I was in an English speaking country, but the moment I would speak, people would say, where are you from? Well, they’d say it much… I was in the UK, so they said it much prettier. And I felt like I felt for the first time, like my accent was ugly. You know what I mean? So you felt different and lesser.

Jackie Hill Perry: That’s deep.

Melissa Kruger: Yeah. And so it’s like how do you, and so sometimes it made me act different than I would in the States. When I was at the grocery store, I wouldn’t speak. I would just say yeah, just silently kind of would do my groceries or whatever because I just didn’t want to have the conversation. And so how can, whenever we’re going into a new space, be it join a new church, join a new small group, how can that fear of being different actually keep us from relationship with others? Or how do we even get over that? Maybe, how do we say it’s okay that I’m different? And I’m going to realize everyone in this room is different too. Even if they look the same and how can we boldly kind of just go into relationship saying I’m just going to listen to their story rather than presuppose things about them when we go into a story.

Jackie Hill Perry: I think one idea is to know that you’re different on purpose. The way God made you was a sovereign decision. That came out of his wisdom and love. And so you don’t have to change to be loved like you’re loved already by God. And so going into a new space then I think gives you the confidence in the security that you need. But also like I think about how in Genesis one and two, I think how God created Adam and Eve, I think we sometimes look at complementarity only in relation to marriage, but even Adam and Eve was a creation of community. And so they were different yet alike. And so I think we’re modeling that when we go into spaces where people are different from us, where we’re able to actually benefit from their differences, but they also benefit from you.

Jackie Hill Perry: The things about you that actually make you strange and make you unique are just as necessary to them and beneficial to them as their differences and their uniqueness is to you. And so I think that would encourage me. No, no, I’m needed. Not in an arrogant way, but God has placed me here to help and serve people with my unique abilities and skills and personality types.

Jasmine Holmes: Absolutely.

Melissa Kruger: That’s good. You can boldly go and say, the Lord made me and fashion me to be part of his body and not in a prideful way. Like there’s no one else like me, not to pump up your self esteem, but there isn’t anyone. And the God of all the universe called me to himself. And so I can’t go forward boldly. Because I do think sometimes it’s our insecurity that builds a wall with other people.

Melissa Kruger: So if you’re not in the same season of life as me, you can’t understand my problems. Yes. If you don’t have young children, you can’t get what my day looks like. And so therefore we don’t make friends with the single woman in our congregation who might have a lot to tell us about Jesus. And we miss that friendship-

Jackie Hill Perry: And make for a good babysitter.

Melissa Kruger: Yeah. Well, but and for her to feel part of a family, I mean one of my closest friends, she started in our life as our babysitter, she moved, she was 22 and I had these young kids and as she’s age and as we’ve aged, she’s just become my friend and now she actually lives five houses down from me and she has three young boys of her own and now all my kids are older.

Melissa Kruger: So when her little boys come into my house and give me these hugs and say Miss Melissa, yeah and I don’t have anyone doing that now. And she’s like, it’s crazy when we come over here. But I’m like, I love that they go get all the Nerf guns and are crazy because I don’t have that kind of crazy in my house anymore. It’s been such a joy for us to be in different seasons. So if I had said she wouldn’t want to come into my mess and not invited her over when I had these little children, I would have missed this whole friendship. Even though our life stages have never met up. But she went walking with my 19 year old before she went to college just to talk to her about life. Yeah. It’s been this beautiful friendship that is actually better because it’s different.

Jackie Hill Perry: It’s like practicing heaven, you know, tribes, languages, tongues, like heaven will be full of people unlike us, but like us.

Jasmine Holmes: Absolutely. I love what you said too, about our insecurity. I think owning our insecurity is a big part of having relationships with people who are different than us. I know for my part we’ve talked a little bit about it in the church hurt episode, but I’ve had a lot, A lot of friendships that imploded.

Jasmine Holmes: And so I often find myself, like if I have a friend and she never texts me back, I just assume she doesn’t want to talk to me and didn’t want to be my friend, and not in a way that’s like, Oh, woe is me. But just kind of like, okay, well I’ll just fade out of her life then since she’s busy, or if I have a friend that can like never get together, I’m like, Oh, that’s probably a subliminal message. Like she probably just don’t want to hang out, so I’m just going to leave her alone. And that’s just how I kind of like think through things but I’ve realized that that’s my way of protecting myself and that’s my way of not getting hurt. And it’s my way of not having somebody else say, Hey Jasmine, like you’re an inconvenience or I don’t really like you or I don’t.

Jasmine Holmes: I’m like, I’ll just back off. So before you get a chance to say that to me, because you probably want to say it anyway. And I’ve had to own it. That’s my stuff. That’s not my friend’s fault for not texting me back right away. That’s not my friend’s fault for not being able to come over. That’s me. And that’s my hurt and I can talk about it to that friend, but also I can take it to the Lord. I can talk about it to my therapist where I will not cry. I can talk about it to my… I can work through those things. And that’s been a really helpful an empowering thing for me in having new relationships with people who are not like me, to just know that my tendency to run and my tendency to kind of like insulate myself from potential hurt is not of the Lord and it needs to be addressed has been really good for me.

Melissa Kruger: That’s good. So I have a question. We’re all three women here and so one of the most different types of friendships we can have are our friendships with men. So I want to ask, how have you continued and is it okay to continue having friendships with men as a married woman, but how has that changed your perspective? How has actually having friendships from them been good to have? Because I can normally get with a room of girlfriends and we see things from the same perspective a lot of times, but sometimes it’s my male friends who pushed me in certain ways with how they say things and how they do things.

Melissa Kruger: And even what they think. And I found it really good. But I just wonder how do we do that? Because sometimes in the church, I think that’s kind of a scary thing.

Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, totally.

Melissa Kruger: Can we be friends? But in the scriptures I do see this, mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and daughters and sons, Paul talked about one woman who is his, she’s been like a mother to me and you see these relationships that are like family. So I hope we can have that in the church but how do we do that well?

Jasmine Holmes: I don’t have a lot of male friends. I have one in particular. I talked about Israel on the last episode. It was a tour that we went on with a lot of people and one of the people was Johnny who several years younger than I am. It’s so funny because Phillips saw pictures and he was like, yeah, we weren’t dating it. He was like, I thought you were with that guy. It’s like, that is my little brother. And he is the, like every single time I’ll post something on Instagram, he’ll like comment something encouraging. He is always just the most uplifting, hilarious, loving person.

Jasmine Holmes: And I when I got married I was kind of like, Oh, can I still be friends with Johnny? Like is that OK? And I’m so glad that I am, I’m so glad that I didn’t forfeit that relationship because he’s so encouraging and it’s been fun to watch him grow in the Lord and to be able to speak into his life, have him speak into mine. It’s more, it’s definitely a little brother, big sister relationship. I can’t think of one that’s like that peer relationship though that I have.

Jackie Hill Perry: I think like in high school in particular, I have more male friends than I had female. And even when I became a new Christian, I had more men friends just because I, I guess I related to them more in some ways. I think now I still retain a lot of the older friendships I have.

Jackie Hill Perry: And in a lot of Preston’s, my husband’s friends have become my friends and if they’re over the house. And so I think one thing I enjoy about my male friendships the most is that they just don’t talk about the same stuff. Like sometimes I think having coffee with women, it’s just this, this is a generalization, but it’s, my experience is just always somehow comes back to kids and school and marriage. And it’s just like, can we just talk about some else and so I think men just their approach to conversations. It’s so different and I really enjoy that.

Melissa Kruger: I grew up with a brother and so it was the most natural thing. His friends were always over and I was kind of used to, and it’s funny when I think about my brother, because my brother and I went to the same church for years and sometimes people didn’t know we were siblings. And yeah, we’d be talking close because he’s my brother and sometimes I’d see people looking at us and I was like, do they think we’re inappropriate? He’s my brother. But then I thought that’s how it should be viewed with all my brothers through Christ. They are my brothers, you know, they’re my brothers. We can be friends or whatever.

Melissa Kruger: And I’ve learned so much from just different brothers in the faith and listening to them and hearing their perspective, is really helpful because sometimes they do just think differently about theological issues or even political issues and I just like hearing people’s perspective. And so I think one of the things I think in all of this is having friends that are different from us. I don’t think we have to be fearful about that because it’s actually a way to learn about the world. And do I really want to go around the world with just such a finite perspective online because I’m one little dot. Whereas every time I meet someone, it expands what I understand about the world and about experiences in the world and it actually can help us share the Gospel better.

Jackie Hill Perry: To that point, what do you say to those who, you know how the Bible says friendship with the world is in enmity with God and they read into that and say, I can’t be friends with worldly people or Psalms one, blessed are those who walk, not in the counsel of the wicked. Is there room and space and wisdom to be learned with being friends with unbelievers.

Jasmine Holmes: I think there is, I mean, in our last episode we talked about mentorship, you don’t want to have a mentorship relationship with an unbeliever that’s centered around your faith, right? But what about if you’re at work and you’re a teacher and there’s a really good teacher who is not a believer but is really good at her job and could be a really good mentor to you. I can’t think of anybody who would be like, Oh no, that’s not going to work. No, she can’t-

Jackie Hill Perry: She’s going to lead me astray.

Jasmine Holmes: Yeah. She can’t teach you how to teach. There is this thing called common grace that I love so much and there are friendships and relationships with people that I think can be beneficial regardless of their religious beliefs and also gospel opportunities that can come from those friendships. My only caveat would be just making sure that when you’re in those relationships, you remember who you are and focus less on who they are and what they’re doing and more on are you being who you’re supposed to be in that relationship?

Melissa Kruger: Yeah. Because I think of that Psalm one, it says, the council of the wicked. I do think we have to be careful about whose advice we’re taking, especially in spiritual things.

Melissa Kruger: So if that teacher friend or whatever start saying, yeah, well I know your marriage is hard. Yeah. I mean he seems grumpy. You should just get out of it then you be you and you do your life. Then you have to start saying, am I going to this person because they’re telling me what I want to hear. Yeah. And am I taking their counsel because it sounds good. So I think the friendship of the world is almost that worldly system. So we want to look just like the world. We want to be like the world whereas we do need people reminding us of the truth of the gospel. And I think about not being yoked with an unbeliever. That means like we’re put under the same, going the same direction. My life should look different than unbeliever, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to have non Christian friends. Yeah. I want to be engaged with them, hearing their stories so that I can try to find ways to share the gospel with them.

Jackie Hill Perry: And being friends with non-Christians has literally helped me be a better minister just because, I remember when I realized all of my friends are following Christians on Twitter. They’re reading the same Christian books, they’re listening to the same Christian music. And so I’m not even equipping myself to know or understand other world views so that I can then speak that are speaking to that with the gospel. And so I think being friends with a non-Christians, they’ll say… So one of my friends, for example, she’s a lesbian and she was telling me just some of the jargon that Christians use that’s offensive or feels disingenuine. And I take that for myself, but also when I preach a workshop on evangelism to the same sex community, now I have context for, Hey, when you all say I love you, I say this in love, but, but, but, but don’t even say that because they already know what’s about to happen. They’ll shut down, they won’t hear the gospel, but I wouldn’t have learned that from a Christian book. I would only learn from a non Christian.

Melissa Kruger: That was good.

Jasmine Holmes: Well, that’s been a really great conversation about friendships, relationships. There’s so much more that could be said. But I think the action step that I would love to give would just be to look around at your relationships and see how you can be a better friend to people who are different from you. Maybe there’s somebody in your life who’s different that you’ve kind of been hesitating about getting to know.

Jackie Hill Perry: Can I name some differences?

Jasmine Holmes: Yes.

Jackie Hill Perry: Social, economically different, physically different, Racially, ethnically, culturally different. Age wise different, life stage different. I think naming them actually gives us clarity on what we mean by different.

Jasmine Holmes: Even not just being friends with people who only go to your church. Yeah. If you’re friends with other Christians, like why are you only friends with people who go to your church?

Melissa Kruger: Or different denomination? You’re Baptist, right?

Jasmine Holmes: I’m Presbyterian now.

Melissa Kruger: You are Presbyterian now. But you were raised Baptist?

Jasmine Holmes: I absolutely was raised Baptist and I married a Presbyterian. So bridging gaps, you know?

Melissa Kruger: Yeah.

Jasmine Holmes: I’m all about it. Okay. So I think now is a good time to wind down and talk about our favorite things. So this week I want to know what’s your favorite book that shaped you spiritually?

Melissa Kruger: I have two. One is a biography, so I feel like they’re very different. I mean, a biography speaks to me about somebodies life and it’s almost like a mentor by watching their life and it’s a chance to die. It’s a story about Amy Carmichael is a missionary in India and I can’t tell you how much her words, she wrote poems and different things. Those words come back to me so much.

Melissa Kruger: It was written by Elizabeth Elliott, but just the example of a woman who was a single woman, she was a completely different season of life than I ever was, but I learned so much from her faithful obedience to the Lord and just seeing that lived out over decades in a foreign country. And the other one is knowing God by J.I. Parker, every word he writes just felt packed with meaning about knowing God and why. I think for years I went to the Bible wanting to know myself and he really gave me a vision to go into the Bible and want to know God and that would change everything.

Jasmine Holmes: That’s huge.

Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. I think by far my entire Christian life in ministry has been shaped by, desiring God by John Piper. Just because I discovered, even though it took me some years to read the book and actually understand it, I think in the early stages of my Christian walk, I just didn’t have a grasp on the beauty of God. Like I heard about God and his hatred of sin and stuff like that. But to know that he was a beautiful God and therefore to pursue him was to pursue beauty and joy and love and all of that. And it’s literally shaped how I see the commandments. It shaped how I’ve seen the promises of God. And it’s fueled how I communicate sermons. Even like I always tried to make God beautiful in my writing and in my teaching because I think I learned that from Piper.

Melissa Kruger: I love that. He is really good at that.

Jasmine Holmes: I have two as well. The first one is also a biography, the hiding place by Corrie Ten Boom. I just, throughout my life I’ve read it over and over and over again and related to her so much. Actually, I thought that I probably wasn’t going to get married because she was never married. I thought like, there’s all these things about her life. I was like, yeah, I know like me and Corrie, like we’re like this. But just her life is encouraging because when she was in the darkest places, she was not afraid to admit her doubt and to allow the Holy spirit to convict her through the life mostly of her sister, Betsy. And Betsy is kind of the Christian that we all want to be.

Melissa Kruger: And Corrie is the Christian that we all are.

Jasmine Holmes: My second one is a sure guide to heaven by a Puritan named Joseph. I always betray his last name. I think it’s A.L.L.E.I.N.E but just look up a short guide to heaven and you can actually just find it like at the PDF is online and it’s just one of those fantastically convicting books and it’s about the way of salvation. And I like growing up in a Christian home, I don’t know how many times I prayed that prayer just to make sure that it stuck. Like when me just walked down the aisle one more time. And that book is just this encouraging primer on what it is to be saved and I love it just so much. It’s very encouraging.

Jasmine Holmes: All right. Well that’s all we have for this episode of Let’s Talk next week we’ll be covering the topic of taming the tongue. That’s probably something we all need to be challenged on. So please be sure to tune in. I know I need to be challenged on it. You can subscribe to, let’s talk through Apple podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you like to get your podcasts. Check out other shows from the gospel coalition podcast network at tgc.org/podcasts. The Gospel Coalition connects Christians to resources that apply the truth and beauty of the gospel to all of life.

 

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