Friendship is by definition a mutual arrangement, a two-way street. Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of us all being bound up in an “inescapable web of mutuality.” They called Jesus a “friend of sinners,” which, for my money, implies more than that he was nice to bad people.
He valued their friendship as much as they did his. Even those individuals that some people considered the dregs of his day must have, in some way, brought something of value to the relationship.
From a Rahab-like woman of notorious reputation Jesus asked, “Will you give me a drink?” He was the least “needy” person who ever lived, and yet he opens the conversation with admitting a need. At face value, the woman had nothing to offer the Son of God, and yet he humbled himself and asked for her help. He was ready to dispense unlimited “living water,” yet he approached her with his own need for the kind of water she had at her disposal. That’s mutuality.
If that’s the case with the eternal Son of God, how much more should we expect to benefit from calibrating how we befriend people outside our comfort zones of commonality and risk getting near people who are unlike us?
– Originally published in Reaching Rahab: Joining God In His Quest For Friends