Heart And Soul: Friendships, Part II – Bro-Code, Girl-Code, Christian-Code

As if navigating the relationship landscape isn’t already challenging enough, sometimes our friends can be the bumps on our road to love. Or, they can be God’s best instrument to lead us in the right direction. But, how will we know if they’re right? And, are we really expected to choose between our friends and our significant others?

TRANSCRIPT: Heart And Soul
Friendships, Part II: Bro-Code, Girl-Code, Christian-Code

MZ:
You’re listening to Part 2 of our podcast on Friendships. Our guests include my very good friend, Lenner Sese and Lois Paula’s childhood friend, Krystal Quarles. We discuss topics like ‘Should we put our friends before our significant others?’ and ‘How do we take advice from a friend we don’t want to hear?’ and much much more. We’re also joined with minister of the gospel, Jojo Bayani.

Question #1
When it comes to courting, do we put guys before our potential one that we’re going to go for? Do we put our girls before the one 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:
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.

LP:
Martin and Lenner, we ask about Bro’s before….that’s not a good term…

MZ:
Bro’s before girls. Let’s put it that way.

LP:
Bro’s before girls: When you’re in a relationship, sometimes, I mean not even regarding, “Oh you have to…” I’m talking about you’re in a relationship and your friends need you. Your boys need you. Or you want to have a guy’s night.

MZ:
Oh man, I’ve had this conversation with Erica many times. 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 negotiable.   You know? Like, 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 my 110% of my attention. But then if it’s a guys night and we needed to chill, then it’s like, “That’s my time with them. They also deserve my 110% affection as my friends and attention as well.” I don’t know, Lenner, am I crazy?

Lenner:
No no no, you’re 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. I know you guys have your obligation to your girlfriends…

LP:
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 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?

[2:53]
Bro. Jojo:
Sure Sis LP. As we mentioned in PART 1, I’ll use the same verse.

It’s 1 Cor. 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 or morals.”

I think one of the best and one of the main guidelines in choosing our friends is to make sure that 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, good habits. 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. They respected my beliefs, I respected theirs and they didn’t try to steer me in the wrong direction.

MZ:
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.

Question #2
LP:
So what if we have a good friend, what if we love them and they have great intentions, we also have—we’ve been blessed with a relationship in our lives, we have a great boyfriend or girlfriend but they don’t get a long. Or, there’s something of one party who doesn’t like something of the other party.

MZ:
Yeah, sometimes, your friends don’t like the one you’re with.

LP:
Or sometimes, the one you’re with don’t like your friends.

MZ:
What should we do?

[5:10]
Bro Jojo:

Colossians 3:12 That’s a difficult question to answer but Col 3:12 of the Living Bible goes like this:

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, you should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others.

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. But I believe we have to keep in mind, if we have a true friend, if we have a best friend, and if they are practicing what the Bible says, being tenderhearted, 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 wonderful experience with that friend knowing that he or she has been there and has consistently given you good advice 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…”

In as much as we’re in love at the same time, I think we should be open to those advices that our friends, our true friends are giving us because they are our friends. This is their 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 advices that we should be receiving at that given point.

I’ve had experiences like that in the past where a good buddy says, “I don’t think she’s the right person for you and” …I don’t know. I’m just speaking from experience. When you’re in love, you’re in love. Even if that’s your best friend, you might say something like, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

MZ:
Yeah or it’s not what I want to hear.

Bro Jojo:
This is the perfect woman for me! 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 for that advice you gave me a year ago!” You know, they turn out to be right, especially if they are true friends basing their advices when it comes to our teachings.

MZ:
Thank you po Bro Jojo. That’s not always something that people want to hear. They want to hear, “Well the Bible said you know, I Cor: 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, we 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, Bro Jojo, that that’s hard to accept? Or if 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?

[9:39]
Bro Jojo:
Throughout my life, leading to being married to Sis Vernie, prior to that I had 3 serious relationships and for relationship #1, I thought that she was the one.

Relationship #2, I thought that she was the one again and when it came to relationship #3, when we were actually engaged to be married, I absolutely thought that she was the one. 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 your in love with someone, it really can, if you’re not careful, take over just about every aspect of your life. Because, I mean, 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 sometimes, we can be blinded by that love and no longer believe 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. If you have solid members of the Church Of Christ who are your friends and who’ve 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 #4, Ka Vernie, finally finally she was the right one for me. It’s been 25 wonderful years living with this person.

Question #3
LP:
And on the other side of that Bro Jojo, Krystal, Lenner, Martin…you know, when you are married, it changes a little bit because you’re now 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 by God and they’re instruments of God that they’re teaching me and bringing light to something I’m not seeing when my spouse here is the one saying this.” Do you think that there’s a difference in that? Do you think that it now changes? I personally, in my experience, it has change. And now, no matter if something comes up, if a friend has an opinion that’s different than my spouses, ultimately as the wife, I listen to Bro. 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 at all? Bro Jojo, am I wrong in that?

Bro Jojo:
No no, your allegiance, OUR allegiance and our ultimate trust and confidence has to change Sis LP and God-willing, for Bro. Martin, it’ll be Sis. Erica for you. And I know Sis. Erica so take care of her bro.

MZ:
Yes po. You are the friend that I will listen to po. I will listen to you for sure.

[13:50]
Bro Jojo:
But anyway, I’d like to go to Eph. 5:23 of the NKJV 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.”

And in verse 25, it says:

“Husbands love your wives just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her.”

So when we do get married, I don’t care if there is a best friend out there. Eventually, as we grow in love and 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, “Wait a minute. That’s how much love we should also have for our spouse.”

So when we do get married Sis. LP, and for everyone else, and for all those listening to this podcast, once we do get married, 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 our life. Again, first and foremost is God and His son of course. But if you happen to be a member of the Church and you have a faithful husband and faithful wife, let her and let him be your best friend from that time on.

Question #4

MZ:
So, it’s within our culture but I think this an issue, I mean an issue in the sense that I think on the minds and hearts of brothers and of guys more so 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 this situation, like Bro 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? It’s 2016, the Scriptures been the same since the beginning. Should brothers just man up and let it go? Just accept it, this is the teaching and 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? How do we…

LP:
Krystal’s saying it doesn’t only happen to brothers or to guys.

MZ:
Oh for sure, it happens to sisters. But guys get territorial about it…

LP:
Oh I promise, girls do too.

Krystal:
So do girls.

LP:
But it’s not a territorial thing, it becomes almost like this second-guessing of themselves. It’s insecurity where it’s like, “Oh how do I compare to this girl? What does she have that I don’t have?”

MZ:
See? So it’s stressful because we’re always comparing. With our primal instincts as guys, always trying to stake out territory and who is first and who is second. How do we make of that landscape?

[17:26]
Bro Jojo:
I think the best way to answer that Bro Martin and Sis LP is…as long as you break it off cleanly, in a very Christian way… If, for example, you went out and you got to know each other, and after 6 months or after a year, you’re just not compatible (if we can use that term), then 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 personal opinion, I don’t care what happened to you in the past. I have no control over ‘who did you go out with a year ago’, ‘who did you go out with 5 years ago’, ‘what kind of relationship did you have with that person’…to me, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the moment that we met, 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.

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.

LP:

And I love, Bro Jojo, how you mentioned when 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?” We talked about, “Ok, do we just be mature about it?” But, you answered it, you said, “Be Christian”.   And that’s holding the values of love and compassion in our hearts 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.

[20:07]
Bro Jojo:
If there were any hurt feelings in the past, Eph. 4:32 of the NKJV says this:

“And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

So again, after we get rid of that pride, there’s nothing left but to be kind and to forgive one another. If feelings were hurt along the way, then we sincerely didn’t mean to break people’s hearts…then we have to forgive and go on with our lives.

LP:

Christian Code.

MZ:

Not bro-code, not girl-code…Christian Code. Let go of the ego and let in the love.

I love that. Thank you so much Bro 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 these relationships, they interconnect: how we love ourselves as friends, how our friends show their love for making us chose the right person that God has sent for us, and then now that we’re with that person, how that relates 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. Bro Jojo, so thank you so much for that.

And as we end this Part 2 of Friendship: Loving our Friends, LP was there anything else that you wanted to talk about? I was just going to really quickly read just one comment from our Instagram posts 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 from Sis. Chrissen Fergada:

“Jadelyn 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 gonna 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. Love you!”

MZ:
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:
Anytime. Glad I got to be on this podcast and I appreciate you bringing me on this.

LP:
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 Bro Dan and Bro George, also that’s my brother, he’s really close to me obviously, so shout out to him.

LP:
Cool, and to Sis Krystal, thank you for being you. Thank God for you, for sending you to my life, for your honesty and your loyalty, your trust and our friendship and faith and 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, friend or family that you want to give?

Krystal:
Sure, I just want to say hi to everybody in San Diego all the girls, they know who they are. Yeah!

MZ:
And we can’t end without asking Bro Jojo. So Bro Jojo, who is your friend shout-out?

Bro Jojo:
You know what? Just, Sis Vernie man. Sis 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 gonna let her listen to this once it comes out and I’m just gonna say, “Thank you man!” I mean, 25 years of putting up with my stuff, I mean…Oh my goodness!! That’s a capital O, capital M, capital G. I thank her for loving me the way that I am and putting up with all of the…we’ll just leave it at that. Thank you, thank you for the opportunity.

MZ:
Thank you so much. And thank you LP, you’re a good friend too.

LP:
Ohh, Martin! Martin, thanks for discussions. Thank you Bro Jojo, Sis Krystal, Bro Lenner. Thank you for joining us and to all our listeners for always tuning in. If you have questions about love and relationships, #askheartandsoul. You can direct message us on IG or Twitter or FB, we’d love to hear from you! But again, thank you for joining us. Hopefully this prompts more conversations about love and relationships, friendships and your life and the people that mean most to you and definitely will bring us closer to God. Again, I’m Lois Paula Riturban—

MZ:
And I’m Martin Zerrudo, and we’re just people talkin’ love, talkin’ love and relationships on INC Heart & Soul.