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Aggressively Friendly

Posted by Joshua Claycamp on

Believe it or not, this post is about being happy. My happiness is of the utmost importance to me, and I jot down these thoughts with the idea that your joy is of some significance to you as well. In the pursuit of joy, I recommend aggressive friendship. At first glance, it appears that those are two words which don't seem to belong together in the same sentence: aggressive and friendship. Here's how Webster's defines aggressive:

Aggressive [uh-gres-iv] (adjective):

  1. Characterized by or tending toward unprovoked offensives, attacks, invasions, or the like; militantly forward or menacing: aggressive acts against a neighboring country.
  2. Making an all-out effort to win or succeed; competitive: an aggressive basketball player.
  3. Vigorously energetic, especially in the use of initiative and forcefulness: an aggressive salesperson. 
  4. Boldly assertive and forward; pushy: an aggressive driver.

Here's how Webster's defines friend:

friend [frend] (noun):

  1. A person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
  2. A person who gives assistance; supporter: friends of the Boston Symphony.
  3. A person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile: Who goes there? Friend or foe?
  4. A member of the same nation, party, etc. 

At first blush this may sound like a contradiction of terms, specifically when you tend to think of the term "aggression" as indicating a hostile posture. Yet, you will notice that the second and third definitions of aggression fit nicely with what I am talking about. What I mean by this concept is that we should advance upon those we encounter with a clear intention of successfully making them our friend and companion. We should do this with an eye towards our own happiness and pleasure and theirs as well. As we pursue our mutual joy, we might even be accused of being "pushy" at times as we seek their friendship.

Admittedly, not everyone responds to forward acts of kindness and love alike. Some respond well, while others feel that you are... er... being too forward or pushy. I think that we need to always read the situation carefully, and not be too forward and too pushy in going out for coffee or grabbing lunch together. Aggression for aggression's sake accomplishes nothing in the way of true friendship. However, I find we are far too reticent in our overtures. Our chief problem is not that we are too pushy. It is that we are too timid.

Notice the Apostle John's statement in 1 John:

“...that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” (1 John 1:3–4, ESV)

John is writing these things to make himself happy. He says explicitly, "I am writing to make myself as happy as possible - scratch that- to make my joy perfectly complete!" So what is he writing? He is writing to the church in Ephesus about Jesus. Why is he doing that? So that they can have fellowship together around Christ. Ergo John is writing and proclaiming certain things for the sake of friendship for the sake of his own personal happiness!

My joy is made complete only when others take fellowship with me, and I take fellowship with them. And our joy can only be complete when we, who take fellowship with each other, put Christ at the center of that fellowship. I find in this passage a bold permission to be aggressively friendly as John says, "we proclaim to you," and "we are writing these things..." Proclamation is bold. It's the kind of thing that people on street corners do as you're walking by. They literally thrust themselves into your lives uninvited. John is taking bold action in his proclamation and in his writing for the sake of making friends, developing fellowship, and for the sake of completing his own personal joy.

My joy is a significant concern in my life. Isn't your joy of some importance to you? Okay, then. Aggressively pursue others in Christian friendship and start getting happy!

Tags: aggressive, friendship, friends, fellowship, joy, happiness, how to be happy, how to have joy