“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV)
Continuing with another vow from a Celtic Vow of Friendship, “I will no Negotiate by Withholding.” Let’s start with negotiate, defined as (1) to transact business; to treat with another respecting purchase and sale; to hold intercourse in bargaining or trade, either in person or by a broker or substitute; as, to negotiate with a man for the purchase of goods or a farm; and (2) to hold intercourse with another respecting a treaty, league, or convention; to treat with respecting peace or commerce.
So negotiate is to talk, discuss, agree, confer, and bargain; it is also to get past, which is cope with or deal with.
In order to dwell together peacefully and have the G-d of love and peace with us, Paul wrote: “Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another. . .” (2Cor 13:11)
In a friendship, we must agree with each other. If I look at another more highly than myself, then I respect his or her desires. This might require getting past some of my own cherished outcomes, as we looked at last week. Perhaps I don’t want to give up a particular desire, rather I want another to agree with me, to get past his or her own desires. We negotiate, whether in the open or clandestine.
This might be openly displayed in the discourse of a parent trying to coerce a child to do what he or she wants. “If you don’t (do this or that) then (this or that will occur),” might be said. Friends negotiate by taking turns doing things together, each having his or her choice recognized.
Another, more clandestine, way to sway another into agreeing with me is by emotional and physical withholding. It is a refusal to give, to hold back, or to deny. This is done in marriages, addressed by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:3 ESV)
We can withhold affection outside of marriage too. We can withdraw emotionally from a friend when we disagree, rather than attempting to agree, even if it means agreeing that there is a disagreement. In this case, I think it means that each acknowledges the other’s right to hold a particular opinion, and that the friendship can continue without one having to relinquish his or her position.
Consider, now, another aspect of withholding that is done simply to agree with a person. We can withhold our beliefs and truth simply to make peace. Y’shuaJesus warned us that “. . . whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 ESV) We are taught to “. . . put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” (Ephesians 4:25 ESV)
This vow of friendship, with its Biblical roots, helps us consider wisely our ways as we participate socially with both saved and unsaved people. We are encouraged to not withhold ourselves to simply get our way, and not to withhold our selves in fear of upsetting some illusive peace.
Lord, help us be discerning in our speech and actions, always mindful to glorify You in our human relations. Amen.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .