Last night, after the Saints' rout of the Falcons on MNF was complete, I was flipping the remote before going to bed. I stopped on MTV and watched a little bit of a reality show called FriendZone.
I've got to admit it was fascinating. I think most of us can identify with the show's premise. You really like someone romantically, but you spend so long getting up the nerve to ask her out that you end up, like, best friends.
The name of the show comes from the expression for that dilemma - an expression that, as best I can tell, was coined in this scene, linked from the TV show (ironically) FRIENDS. (Embedding was disabled in YouTube, so you'll have to click the link to watch - sorry.)
The show last night was painful to watch, to be honest. However, as with a train wreck, I couldn't look away. I can see why it would might be a successful show. I found myself watching two whole episodes, which meant four scenarios. In each one, the person with the crush told their story, and then we watch as they scheme to set up a situation where they can tell their friend how they feel. ("This date is for you" seemed to be the thing each scenario moved toward.) In three of the four, the person did not get the answer they wanted - which seems pretty realistic to me, based on my own experience. (No, this post is not going there!) The tension leading up to the moment of truth was almost unbearable, because you could see the crushing moment coming from a mile away. Painful.
As I snapped out of my trance and headed to bed, I reflected on what I had just seen. You could almost see hearts breaking as these poor souls expressed their love to someone who wanted to be their friend, but to keep them at arm's length.
And I thought about God. I thought about how he loves me so much. He has made no attempt to hide that love, as he entered the world and endured the humiliation of the cross. Like the ones who risked it all on TV (who would do that, by the way???), he has laid it all out there. There is no mistaking where he stands.
How painful it must be for him to watch the way I respond to his love. How his heart must break.
How often do I want to be "just friends", including him in my life when it's convenient? Asking him to do things for me in prayer? In effect having all the trappings of a relationship without the real thing? In other words, am I one those described by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:5 as "having a form of godliness but denying its power"?
The Bible uses marriage as a picture of our relationship with God and refers to the Church as the bride of Christ. Brides are never in the friend zone. So I don't want to be either.
God, thank you for loving me. I love you too. I pray that I would live my life in close relationship with you - all the time, not just when it's convenient. Amen.