Martin Zerrudo: Hey everyone, we’re back with a REWIND episode. And this conversation is a real treat because I’m joined by our Former Co-Host, Lois Paula, and Brother Jojo Bayani, a minister of the gospel in the Church Of Christ. We asked Brother Jojo all sorts of questions about navigating our friendships. You know, this episode was recorded a few years back, but there’s a lot of useful advice here—I definitely learned a lot from this conversation—and of course, got some spiritual guidance on how to be a good friend, and the kind of friendships that we should have in our life. Here’s that conversation.
Martin Zerrudo: Question number one: when it comes to courting, do we put guys before our potential one that we’re going to go for? Or do we put our girls before the one that we’re going to go for? Krystal, what are your thoughts? If you were going to go for somebody and you knew that a friend of yours had feelings for them, is that ok? How do you navigate that situation?
Krystal Quarles: I would personally talk to my friend and ask ‘Hey, is this ok?’ But I’ve been on the other side and I’ve seen some of my friends really, really happy and that’s ok too. That’s totally fine.
Lois: I mean, Martin and Lenner, we asked about like, you know I’m talking about you’re in a relationship and your friends need you. Your boys need you, or you want to have a guys’ night…
Martin: Oh, man. I’ve had this conversation with Erica many times, where it’s just like, for me, the time that I’ve devoted to my friends, that’s time for them. And then the time that I’ve devoted to you, as my girlfriend, that’s time for you. And I don’t want to mix and match and make the other person or make you feel like that time is… is negotiable, you know? If there has to be adjustments, then that’s fine, you have to adapt. But if I’ve given this time to Erica, then that’s my time with her. Like, I’m going to give you 110% of my attention. But then if it’s a guy’s night and we needed to chill, then it’s like, that’s my time with them. Like, they also deserve my 110% affection as my friends and attention as well. I don’t know Lenner, am I crazy?
Lenner Sese: No, no. Not crazy at all. At the same time, on my part, I’m understanding as well. Out of our group of friends I’m the only single guy. So I know you guys have obligations to your girlfriends.
Lois: Is there anything, any guidance in the Bible about who or what we should choose over what? If we are wrong in choosing one or the other? Is there anything — any guidance that you can give unto us, so that we can make the right decisions if we are presented with that challenge in the future?
Brother Jojo Bayani: Sure, Sister LP. As we mentioned in part one, I’ll use the same verse. It’s 1 Corinthians 15:33 of the Expanded version of the Bible, it’s:
Do not be ·fooled [deceived; misled]: “Bad·friends [company] will ruin good ·habits [or character; morals;
[1 Corinthians 15:33 Expanded Bible]
Brother Jojo: I think the one of the best and one of the main guidelines that we should have in choosing our friends is to make sure that kind of friendship is based on how we should be living our lives, in accordance to the teachings of God. And how do you know when one is either a bad friend or a good friend? Well, the Bible says bad friends will indeed ruin good character, morals, [and] good habits. And we can translate – simply translate – habits or character or morals to what we’ve learned. Let that be our measurement stick in basing the kind of friendships that we have with members of the Church Of Christ and even those who are not members of the Church Of Christ.
I remember when I was younger I had wonderful friends who didn’t share the same beliefs. They were not in the same religion, not in the Church Of Christ. But I knew they were good friends because they respected my beliefs. And they didn’t try to steer me in the wrong direction.
Martin: It really just boils down to that, that verse. If they’re good friends, then they’re not going to make you do bad things. And if they’re bad friends, then you probably shouldn’t be friends with them.
Lois: So, what if we have a good friend – what if we love them and they have great intentions – we also have been blessed with a relationship in our lives, we have a great boyfriend or girlfriend, but they don’t get along. Or there’s something of one party who doesn’t like something of the other party.
Martin: Yeah. Sometimes your friends don’t like the one you’re with.
Lois: Or sometimes the one you’re with don’t like your friends.
Martin: What should we do?
Brother Jojo: Colossians 3:12, perhaps, Brother Martin, would give us an insight with regard to trying to [answer]. That’s a difficult question to answer, but Colossians 3:12 of the Living Bible goes like this, the first part goes like this:
Since you have been chosen by God …
[Colossians 3:12 Living Bible]
Brother Jojo: That’s our faith. We are the chosen people of God in these last days.
Since you have been chosen by God who has given you this new kind of life, and because of his deep love and concern for you, …
[Colossians 3:12 Living Bible]
Brother Jojo: Here we go…
… you should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others.
[Colossians 3:12 Living Bible]
Brother Jojo: You know what? Based on – I’ve been married nearly 25 years now, brethren, so it’s been a while since I’ve dated – but as far as I can remember, when it comes to love, you’re pretty much going to love who you want to love. It doesn’t matter what your friend or your best friend says.
I believe we have to keep in mind that if we have a true friend, if we have a best friend, and if they are practicing what the Bible says – being tender hearted, being merciful, being kind – they won’t mislead us based on what they see. Because sometimes when we’re in love, we can’t really see. Reality is distorted pretty much, you know? The heart is in control and the brain goes nuts sometimes, when we’re in love. But, if you have a true friend, and you’ve had that friend for years and years, and you’ve had a wonderful experience with that friend, knowing that he or she has been there and has consistently given you good advice, of course, based on our teachings, then, when you’re in love, I think you should still listen to that friend. Because that friend, if that friend really cares about you, and that friend says something like, “well, you know, this and that,” I think, in as much as we’re in love, at the same time, I think we should be open to those advice that that our friends – our true friends – are giving us because they are our friends. This is the way that they manifest their kindness. This is how they practice their mercy by trying to tell us, based on the commandments of God, the advice that we should be receiving at that given point.
I’ve had experiences like that in the past where a good buddy says, “Well, I don’t think she’s the right person for you.” And, you know. I’m just speaking from experience. When you’re in love, you are in love. You know, even if that’s your best friend, you know, you’ll probably say something like, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Martin: Yeah. Or, “That’s not what I want to hear.”
Brother Jojo: “This is the perfect woman for me,” you know? But then, in the end, when the relationship doesn’t go as you expect and you go back to your buddy and you say, “You know, thank you. Thank you for that advice that you gave me… a year ago.”
Brother Jojo: You know, they turn out to be right, especially if they are true friends basing their advice when it comes to our teachings.
Martin: Thank you, Brother Jojo. Like, that’s not always something that people want to hear. They want to hear, “Well, the Bible said, you know, 1 Corinthians, love, love, love. And this is the one who I think is for me, so if God blessed me with this person, then I’m going all the way! And if you don’t support it, then you don’t support the love that God gave me!” But, like you said, it’s not always cut and dry like that. Like, sometimes you do have the rose-colored glasses on and we don’t see what’s in front of us, but our friends do. And the reminder for us to have tender hearts, that they care about us, they just want us to do well in relationships. I think that’s so important.
Why do you think sometimes, Brother Jojo, that that’s hard to accept? Or that there’s some resentment? Like, oh, you’re just jealous of what we have, or you don’t understand what we have. Why do you think sometimes we have that feeling, though?
Brother Jojo: Throughout my life, leading [up] to being married to Sister Vernie, prior to that, I had three serious relationships. And for relationship number one, I thought that she was the one. Relationship number two, I thought that she was the one, again. And when it came to relationship number three, when we were actually already engaged to be married, I absolutely thought that she was the one, but it turned out that she wasn’t. It’s just a difficult thing when you’re in love.
As a minister, I’d like to admit that, learning from my past experiences, when you’re in love with someone, it really can – if you’re not careful – take over just about every aspect of your life. Because when you’re in love, you’re in love! I mean, with probably the exception of religion, there comes a time when you’re deeply, deeply, madly in love, that it just takes over your whole life. And, you know, sometimes we can be blinded by that love, and in no longer believing what’s true, or in no longer accepting what would be right or appropriate or applicable for us because we’re head over heels in love with that human being.
That’s why it’s good to have friends that are grounded by the truth. You know, if you have solid members of the Church Of Christ who are your friends and who have been there for you for years and years, I think you should really listen to them when you’re in the process of courting because they can be God’s instruments, too, in leading you. Fortunately for me, relationship number four, that was Ka Vernie. Finally!
Lois Paula: Winner, winner!
Brother Jojo: Finally, she was the right one.
Brother Jojo: It’s been 25 wonderful years living with this person.
Lois Paula: Yay, congratulations!
Lois Paula: And on the other side of that – Brother Jojo, Krystal, Lenner, Martin – you know, when you are married, it changes a little bit because you are now, you know, promising your loyalty to this other person, and then you have all these outside influences, you have these friends of yours or situations in your life where you might not agree with your spouse. And so, at what point then do you say, “no, I’ll choose my friends. My friends are guided, you know, by God, and they’re instruments of God that they’re teaching me and bringing light to something that I’m not seeing.” When my spouse here is the one saying this. Do you think that there is a difference in that? Do you think that it now changes?
Personally, in my experience, it has changed. And now, you know, no matter if something comes up, if a friend has an opinion, you know, that’s different from my spouse’s, ultimately, as the wife, I listen to Brother Glenn, and I trust that he’s guided to be the one making the right decisions for us, and so I follow. Do you think it changes it all? Brother Jojo, am I wrong in that?
Brother Jojo: No. No. Your allegiance, our allegiance and our ultimate trust and confidence has to change, Sister LP. And, God willing, for Brother Martin, it’ll be Sister Erica for you.
Brother Jojo: And I know Sister Erica, so take care of her, bro!
Martin: Yes. You are the friend that I will listen to. I will listen to you, for sure.
Brother Jojo: But anyway, I’d like to go to Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 23, of the new King James version for the answer, it says:
For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
[Ephesians 5:23 New King James Version]
Brother Jojo: And in verse 25, it says:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her,
[Ephesians 5:25 New King James Version]
Brother Jojo: So then, when we do get married, I don’t care if there is a best friend out there, eventually as we grow in love and in our commitment and in our relationship with our spouse, the spouse – ideally and spiritually, based on these verses that we just read – should become the – aside from God, of course – should become our best friend in life because Christ and His relationship to His Church was compared to the relationship of a husband to his wife. Christ gave His life for the Church. That’s how much He loved the Church. And what Apostle Paul is saying here is, well, wait a minute, that’s how much love we should also have for our spouse.
So, when we do get married, Sister LP, and for everyone else and for all of those listening to this podcast, once we do get married, then we have to have that shift or transition in allowing our spouse to become our best friend and our best guide and advisor when it comes to, you know, our life. Again, you know, first and foremost is God and His Son, of course. But then, if you happen to be a member of the Church and you have a faithful husband or a faithful wife, let her and let him be your best friend from that time on.
Martin: So, it’s within our culture, but I think this is an issue. I mean, it’s an issue in a sense that it’s on I think on the minds and hearts of brothers and of guys more so than than sisters. And that’s we’re not supposed to court outside the Church. And so, we do come across, and we will come across the situation like Brother Lenner and I did, where we end up having to go for and get to know sisters who have been with other brothers that we may or may not be really close friends with. Should we still be bothered by that? Like, it’s 2016, the Scripture has been the same since the beginning. Should brothers just man up and let it go? Like that, just accept it. This is the teaching. We shouldn’t make it an issue. Or is there a more tender way of navigating that courting landscape so that we’re not offending brothers? You know? How do, how do we…
Lois Paula: Krystal was saying, it doesn’t only happen to brothers or to guys.
Martin: Yeah, well, for sure. I mean, it happens to sisters, but you know, guys get territorial about it.
Lois Paula: Oh, I promise, girls do too. But it’s not a territorial thing. It’s… it becomes almost like this second guessing of themselves, this insecurity, where it’s like, well, how do I compare to this girl or what does she have that I don’t have?
Martin: See? So, it’s stressful, Brother Jojo. It’s stressful because we’re always comparing and our primal instincts as guys, I guess, are trying to stake out territory and who is first and who’s second and, you know? [What] do we make of that landscape?
Brother Jojo: WOW.
Lois Paula: Sorry, Brother Jojo [laughs]
Brother Jojo: I think the best way to answer that question, Brother Martin and Sister LP, is as long as you break it off cleanly, in a very Christian way… If, you know, for example, you went out, and you got to know each other, and after six months or after a year it just, you’re just not… compatible – if we can use that term, compatible – then, you know, be Christian about it! Be Christian. You know, sister, we’ve already had our prayer for a year, it doesn’t seem like we’re getting closer, in fact, we’re drifting further and further apart from each other. As long as you do it the right way, you can still have a wonderful Christian relationship all throughout your life.
And once you break it off with someone. This is not from the Bible, brethren. This is just [my] personal opinion. You know, I don’t care what happened to you in the past. You know, I have no control over… who did you go out with a year ago? Who did you go out with five years ago? What kind of relationship did you have with that person? It doesn’t… To me, it doesn’t matter what happened. What matters is the moment, you know, the moment that we met, in the time that we’ve been able to spend and share with one another. Did we gel? Were we able to be compatible? Forget about the past! I think that’s just basically ego. You know, when it comes to love, you set aside your ego, especially if you’re praying for this person and if you’re praying for the relationship to [work out], this potentially could be your partner for life that you’re praying with.
Lois Paula: And I love, Brother Jojo, how you mentioned… we asked, how do you get over it? You mentioned ego. How do you deal with other brothers or sisters in the faith where you don’t want to offend them? You know, we talked about, OK, do we just be mature about it? But you answered it. You said be Christian. And that’s, you know, holding the values of love and compassion in our heart because we never know who they might meet or who they might come across. And we always want, like you mentioned, to make sure that we leave our relationship in the best Christian manner.
Brother Jojo: If there were any hurt feelings in the past. In Ephesians 4:32 of the New King James version, says this:
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
[Ephesians 4:32 New King James Version]
Brother Jojo: And so it’s just, again, after we get rid of that pride you know, there’s nothing left but to be kind and to forgive one another. If feelings were hurt along the way, then if we sincerely didn’t mean to break people’s hearts, then we have to forgive and go on with our lives.
Lois Paula: Christian code. Not bro code, not girl code.
Martin: Oh yeah. Christian code. Christian code. Let go of the ego and let in the love. I love It.
Martin: Thank you so much, Brother Jojo. And you know what’s crazy? We set off talking about this topic of friendship, trying to find the love of the friendships that we have. But then, you know, these relationships, they interconnect how we love ourselves as friends, how our friends show their love for making us choose the right person that God has sent for us. And then, now that we’re with that person, how [does] that relate to the friends who may have had a relationship with that one… Like, it all interconnects. And it’s crazy that, biblically, the answers are all there, Brother Jojo. So, thank you so much for that.
And as we end this part two of Friendship – loving our friends, LP, was there anything else that you want to talk about? I was just going to really quickly read just one comment from our Instagram posts…
Lois Paula: Please do.
Martin: … that kind of encapsulates what we’ve been talking about. What we did was we went online, of course – #HeartAndSoul – and whenever we have questions – #AskHeartAndSoul. And so, we said, “Send your friend a shout out and tell us why that person is an awesome friend.” This one [is] from Sister Kristen Fragata:
Kristen Fragata: Jadlyn is an awesome friend because she just is! She’s beautiful on the outside, but more so on the inside. She has a kind, loving and a very helpful heart. And I admire her patience and her diligence in performing her duties primarily as a head secretary. She’s very reliable and very trustworthy, and she just gets me as a friend. She knows what I’m going to say or do even before I say it. And words cannot express how thankful I am for this friendship that God has given us. Thanks for all you do, best! I love you!
Martin: So, I’d just like to take this moment, before we end, because he’s on the panel. Thank you, Len. You’re an awesome friend because even though we’ve only been friends for three years, and we’re a very opinionated bunch, and you kind of soak it all in and observe. Thank you for your patience. I can only imagine how hard it is to sit in a car full of the guys saying the craziest of things, wanting to do the craziest of things, and you’re always there – patient and providing the right amount of academic input and knowledge and advice and sincere sound thoughts. So, thank you for your patience and for your friendship, bro. I appreciate it a lot.
Lenner: Any time. I’m glad I got to be on this podcast and I appreciate you bringing me on this.
Lois Paula: Len, do you have a shout out to another friend? It doesn’t have to be Martin, just so that we can go outside our circle of friends here. A shout out you’d want to give to anyone else in your life?
Lenner: I guess, shout out to Brother Ben and Brother George. Also to my brother he’s really close to me, obviously, so shout out to him, Brother Albert.
Lois Paula: Cool. And to Sister Krystal, thank you for being you. Thank God for you, for sending you to my life, for your honesty and your loyalty, your trust in our friendship and faith in what we could be. Thank you. I love you. See, short and sweet. I did it! But Krystal, do you have a shout out? Not to me, but anyone else? Friends or family that you want to give?
Krystal: Sure. I just want to say hi to everybody in San Diego, all the girls over there.
Lois Paula: They better listen, we will send this [to them]. We love you, guys.
Martin: And we can’t end without asking Brother Jojo. So, Brother Jojo, who is your friend shout out?
Brother Jojo: You know what? Just Sister Vernie.
Lois Paula: Aww!
Brother Jojo: Sister Veronica Cancio Bayani has been… we’re going to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary next month, and just being part of this podcast has made me realize, you know, I’m going to let her listen to this once it comes out and I’m just going to say thank you. Man, I mean 25 years of putting up with my stuff! I thank her for loving me the way that I am and putting up with all of the… all of the… we’ll just leave it at that. But thank you for the opportunity.
Martin: Thank you, so much. And thank you, LP, you’re a good friend, too.
Lois Paula: Oh, Martin!
Martin: Thanks for hosting our show!
Lois Paula: Thanks for discussions! Thank you, Brother Jojo, Sister Krystal, Brother Lenner, thank you for joining us. And to all our listeners for always tuning in. If you have questions about love or relationships, #AskHeartAndSoul. You can directly message us on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook. We’d love to hear from you!
But again, we thank you for joining us. Hopefully this prompts more conversation about love and relationships, friendships in your life with the people that mean most to you, and definitely will bring us closer to God. Again, I’m Lois Paula Riturban.
Martin: And I’m Martin Zerrudo. And we’re just people talking love, talking love and relationships on INC Heart And Soul.
Martin: To be honest, Lenner and I don’t hang out as much as we used to. And Lois and Krystal may not be seeing each other as much as they used to either. But I think a wonderful thing we have inside the Church Of Christ is no matter how much time has passed, no matter where you are in the world, we’ll always be brothers and sisters in Christ, united by friendship and more so by faith.
Martin: While we hope this episode was helpful to all of you, we want to hear your thoughts on this episode and what you gained from it! Leave us a comment on Instagram @HeartAndSoulConversations in any one of our posts, and let us know what you think.
That’s it for us today! Hope we were able to help, hope we were able to connect and hope you’ll join us next time! Ready to listen with all your heart and soul. Take care.