Growing up in New Jersey, my best friend was a somewhat short American-Indian kid named Zubin with a noticeable amount of acne. We would hang out everyday… I would spend countless weekends at his house.
If my mom wanted to know where I was, she’d just call Zubin’s mom. We were nothing alike… similarities were not the bonds of our friendship… goofiness, dirty jokes, and respect were. In all my life, I’ve never had a friend as close as Zubin.
That all changed when I went off to college and found Jesus… and dedicated my life to the Lord. It was because I found this personal relationship with Jesus and I wanted to tell everyone about it. I wanted everyone to have the same feeling of hope, joy, and salvation like I did. I didn’t have religion…I had a relationship and I wanted the world to know.
That summer I came home, I wanted to tell my best friend about Jesus, and how he could have a personal relationship with Jesus too. We could all be best of friends…Jesus, him and me… It didn’t go as well as I expected.
I remember when I first gave my life over to God, the ministry warned me that when you’re a christian, you “can’t break bread with everyone.” That some friendships could be a danger to your relationship with Jesus, so you’ll have to let certain friendships go in order to preserve your relationship with Jesus. I believed them, but they never told me who I couldn’t be friends with. They all had their stories of how they had to end certain friendships for one reason or another.
I knew I had some friends I’d have to part with, because they “clubbed” and chased the skirts. As a christian, I was prepared to let them go, but I was determined to keep my friendship with Zubin. After all he was my best friend.
Halfway through the summer we got into a raging argument. We’d never had a serious argument before. We both said hurtful things that I regret now. That was about 9 years ago and we haven’t talked much since then. I was surprised four years ago when he visited my wife and me while on vacation. We weren’t the best of hosts. We tried to evangelize to him and the tension welled up again. That was the last time I saw him.
I didn’t understand why Zubin wouldn’t want God’s blessing of salvation, love, and fellowship? To me salvation through Christ was what we all need…or so I thought…
Why was Zubin was so hostile to God? It took me years to realize why…..
Zubin was born with a rare deficiency in his body where his body didn’t produce enough potassium. So he was constantly sick when he was young. On top of that, the deficiency caused him to be shorter than most which hurt boys in middle school. He couldn’t play sports, especially because he had to have a tube implanted into his stomach.
It was only after Zubin took control of his life did his health start to improve. He took Brazilian Martial Arts to improve his health, but it did much more. It improved the quality & essence of his life and more importantly, his self-confidence. After a period of intense physical training he no longer needed his stomach tube or his medications. From Zubin’s perspective, he improved his life by himself, and without any help from heaven. Zubin had been on the brink of death several times and as far as he was concerned, it wasn’t God that got him through.
Zubin’s a personal trainer now. I never heard from him again. I’ve tried to call him, but his phone number was changed.
I also have a Christian friend, Everett, who went into the Amazon rain forest to evangelize the natives about his personal relationship with Jesus. They asked him if “Jesus was tall or short… or if he was dark-skinned or fair like him?” He could only say, that he never actually met Jesus face-to-face and that in fact, nobody he knew ever met Jesus. That’s when he realized, he didn’t have personal relationship with Jesus and that he was only re-telling a story of a man that others told him. That’s when I realized that I was just doing the same thing.
Nine years ago I had to choose between my relationship with Christ or my best friend. I made the wrong choice, and I still regret that decision today. by M. Rodriguez
Comment by Brad:
Marty couldn’t understand why Zubin wouldn’t accept God’s salvation by the grace of Christ, so their lifetime friendship ended.
There’s a Christian phrase that I’m particularly fond of… When lost or confused, ask yourself, “What would Christ do?”
Marty converted to Christianity, but remember, this is the “Roman Christianity” established by Rome based on the Roman judgment/salvation theology that was never uttered by Jesus Christ 300 years earlier.
If you want to know what Christ would do, you have to go back 300 years when he was living. What was he teaching? He was proclaiming that God simply loved us, and that He just us to love and help one another. If fostering loving relationships was Christ’s highest priority, in terms of this loving friendship between Marty and Zubin, “What would Christ do?” Of course! He’d pick their lifetime friendship! Choose wisely…Choose the plain wooden chalice!