Creating Enduring Friendship: A Conversation with Bryan Loritts

The Conversation | Bryan Loritts

Josh Olds: For people who haven’t read the book, give us a brief overview.

Bryan Loritts: I tried to tap into just this felt need that all of us have to know and be known. It’s, it’s, it’s kind of the yin and yang of the human experience. On the one hand, people drive us crazy drive us nuts. There’s a lot of hurt. I think that comes with anybody who experiences any kind of relationship that tends to happen when you took when you put two broken people together. But on the other hand, even though people drive us crazy, and there’s a lot of hurt, there’s something inside of us, that keeps longing for the quote, unquote, trouble. And so I just tried to say, Listen, in any relationship, because we deal with the reality of our brokenness of our sin, there’s going to be bumps in the road. Here’s how you work through that. And I draw on the book of Philemon, which I think gives us a wonderful framework for lasting friendship.

Josh Olds: I wanted to start off by talking about that, because I thought that that choice was very interesting…their relationship is complicated. What made you hone in on that particular relationship as instructive for our friendships today?

Bryan Loritts: Well, I think you hit the nail on the head. I mean, in some senses, it’s not really complicated. They’re not friends, right? There’s a master slave dynamic, which for me, as a Black man…to use the language of the day it triggers me. But what Paul is saying when he says, to Philemon, listen, I want you to receive him, take him back, but no longer as a slave but more than a slave—as a brother. What he is envisioning is not a going back to the way things were, but to a new reimagined future because now both of them have become followers of Jesus Christ.

The Book | Enduring Friendship

Friendships are difficult.

Sometimes it can seem as if friends are more work and pain than they’re worth, with friendship challenges that we have to endure and struggle through. Life gets in the way of our well-intentioned efforts to connect. Conflicts and differences over serious issues divide us and make us think that we could never be close to a person ever again. In today’s cancel culture, it’s easy to give up on people and just walk away, leaving us all more isolated than before. How can we build real relationships that are life giving and pass the test of time?

Bryan Loritts mines one of the Bible’s least-known books for insights into how friendships can flourish even in the midst of sin and brokenness. With careful exposition and insight, he unpacks how the apostle Paul helped Philemon and Onesimus reconcile a most unlikely relationship with truth, repentance, and grace. With God’s work and steadfast love, even the most painful relationships that have ruptured are not beyond the reach of forgiveness and reconciliation. Discover how friendships that are hard can be transformed into friendships that endure.

The Author | Bryan Loritts

Bryan Loritts is the Teaching Pastor, at the Summit Church, as well as being an award winning author. He also serves as the Vice President for Regions, with the Send Network. Dr. Loritts is the husband of Korie and the proud father of Quentin, Myles and Jaden. Bryan has been a featured speaker at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, Catalyst and a host of other events.