I'm old enough to remember threshing machines. (Pronounced "thrashing" where I come from.) They pre-date combines by just a few years. A tractor backed up in front of the Great Monster and they would be joined together by a six inch wide belt which delivered the power from the tractor's shiny steel drive wheel to the thresher.. The grain, which had been cut and stooked in the field was gathered up and fed into one end, and out the other, with much shaking and rocking and flying of dust and deafening noises, came the grain clean, stripped of straw and chaff and ready to be milled. As a child, my curiosity would drive me close to the action. I would stand in the barn with my hands over both ears and had great respect, if not raw fear, for the great machine that inflicted such violence on the golden stalks of wheat. When it was all over, and the machine turned off for the day, I remember picking up great handfuls of the golden wheat kernels out of the hopper and letting them fall through my fingers, a cascade of tiny gold nuggets.
Sometimes it's not any easier to maintain authenticity in a relationship than it is for the wheat to go through that threshing machine. It's safer to be "nice", but that's not the kind of friendships I want to have.
I want company on the journey - someone to be my friend, and to be a friend to. Without strings attached and without expectations. I want to be authentic. Absolutely authentic. And if I feel something and I'm afraid it's coming between us, I want to be able to say so, just like I want them to be able say so to me, too. And if we get angry with one another, or things go off-kilter, as they are bound to from time to time in any human relationship, I want to be able to throw the whole friendship into God's threshing machine - no matter how much it hurts at the time - so that the wind of the Holy Spirit can blow the chaff away and so that what comes out is pure gold - pleasing to God and to one another.
I want friends who may not like it - who would? - but at the same time aren't afraid of that threshing machine. Because what comes out the other end, can be the purest gold.
"Wounds from a friend can be trusted." Proverbs 27:3