It’s only one dreg!

Sometimes we think our thoughts about another person are pretty pure because most of our ‘water’ is, well, clear.

But sometimes our ‘water’ (our thoughts about another person) looks clear…only because our dregs towards them have settled to the bottom.

There they are: the bottom-feeders.  The dregs.

Sometimes we forget about them after they’ve settled to the bottom.  We don’t even realize they are adding weight to our thoughts about our friend.  Or maybe we know about them, but we keep setting them aside.  Pushing them down.  Maybe hoping they’ll go away?  But they don’t.  They pull us down… and often our friend and friendship with it.

Then all it takes is one little jostle.

And the friendship that we thought was in the clear is suddenly filled with the dregs that have been pushed down to the bottom… for who knows how long.

Sometimes it surprises us. Other times we saw it coming.  But our dregs definitely shock our friend.  If we’ve been showing our pure ‘water’ to them, well, of course they are stunned when it is suddenly infiltrated with dregs!

Two girlfriends – both of whom I just think the world of – suggested to me recently that I reread Cloud and Townsend’s Boundaries.  What a life changer it was for me over a decade ago!  And I think age has only enhanced its flavor : )

As I was reading, one sentence just jumped off the page at me.  It so poignantly captured the mess and hurt that a dreggy jostle can cause.  This is the quote in Boundaries language:

“Sometimes setting boundaries clarifies that you were left a long time ago, in every way, perhaps, except physically.” (109)

Yikes, right?  Even if you’ve never read Boundaries and have no idea what it’s talking about, you can still tell it hurts!

A boundary jostles. Even if it’s something as simple as “I’m sorry I can’t go to the movies with you tonight.”  With clear water, well, it’s no big deal.  We jostle, and we stay pure.  And our friendship stays pure.  But with sediment and dregs, we jostle, and… yuck.

Now for some crazy reason, some people like their dregs.  They want to hold on to them.  They choose to think dreggy thoughts about you.

That is totally worth grieving.

But a dreggy jostle doesn’t just reveal that our relationship is a mess.  It reveals that our relationship astonishingly *has been* a mess.  And that is really worth grieving.  We grieve that our friend has chosen to have dreggy thoughts at all… and especially for so long.  It’s hurtful when we learn how long the dregs have been collecting. And we grieve the loss that we invested into a friendship that wasn’t really as we thought.

What a mess dregs can make!  They lie at the bottom so innocuous, and so easy to forget or dismiss.

Now may I suggest that it is one little dreg – choosing to hold on to one measly little dreg – that actually begins the end of the friendship. One little dreg is how Satan starts.  One little dreg is how sin starts. Holding on to one little dreg is how relationships start to end.

So if you value the friendships you’re in, beware of one little dreg! Distill it.  Confess it and purify it before the Lord.  Renew your mind to think things about others that are ἁγνός – pure in the highest sense.

I am grateful that distillation is always a possibility in God’s world.  What peace there is in enjoying dreg-free thoughts about others. What delightful unity it enables to the Body. {happy sigh} The freedom and joy it brings to relationships is indeed life-giving.

So the choice for me?  Dreg free!