Growing up we all seek to be the friends with as many as we can. You know, popularly, who doesn’t what it? Even as we get older people are still seeking it. People are willing to change who they are just to get a few more “friends”, or so they think. In writing this, I write to myself too. It’s a means to let everything you need to articulate to yourself and/ or someone you love with long thought out words.
In my past, I think of the ones that I could truly call friends, sure I had a tone of people in my life, but who were friends and who was just hanging around because of others or because they could get something from me. That something could be anything, from a hanging out with other people in our group of friends or seeking something I had or wanted to be a part of.
I became the father of a beautiful daughter at 18 and at that very moment I saw who was and was not a true friend. The true friends stayed around and understood that I could no longer live as I once was. Yes, they were all going out and doing their thing, having their parties and living their life. I understood who was my true friends by the ones that “said bring your daughter over”, or just willing to come over on a Friday night and not do much because we were raising our child and I was not going to leave my wife to fend for herself while I “did my thing”.
I’m not saying that we did not get our time to go out, but it was not like it was by any means, because we said we were going to focus on being the best mother and father we could be. I took longer to get settled in my new role as a young father and yes it caused contention. If I could go back and change the time it took me to stop looking in the windows of my past I would. If I was 100% focused on the beautiful child that God had blessed me with sooner I would be a better man today. It took God himself to speak to my soul, to say, I blessed you with this child and now be a man already. I can truly remember when and how I felt when this came over me.
So I changed my focus on doing what I could to be a good Papa to her! It was about what we did as a family now and not so much as what the people around us were doing. Their actions and life no longer felt as appealing as they once did. Please don’t get me wrong, when we had a chance to see our true friends it was wonderful. Please focus on the part of me saying true friends.
Some very personal things I will share and are things that still hurt to this day. Two of my true friends (one I looked at as a brother and one was my best friend growing up). God took them home early and many no longer have them to bounce things off, to make fun of things with, and to just enjoy life with. I know that Gods ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts but my heart still thinks about them all the time. Faith get people through hard times knowing God has bigger plans, but it does not take away sorrow their Sons, Daughters, Moms, Brothers, Sisters, family and friends feel. People say time heals all things and I would say not true. AT and BJ, I / we all miss you guys!
The thing about them is they never judged me, they may give me advice, I always knew they would support my choice and if it was a bad one, they never said “I told you so”. They were just friends. From the time of my 1st child to my last they were my friends and understood I could not go and hangout with them like I once did. They supported me in crazy ideas (joined me in lots of them), when I failed they would help me by lightning the mood and just have some laughs and that was all that was needed. I miss them and love them all the same to this day.
I would preach to my best friend at times more than being just a friend and I know he used to get frustrated with me because of it. I have learned that we need to preach more through our actions and less through our lips. I’m sorry I did this.
The “friends” that moved on just after my children were born, never truly were friends. They were there when we were doing the things of my past of now that I was not able to do all of them they moved on without a thought. It opened my eyes quickly to what was real and not. Your true friends will always support you and tell you things you may not want to hear at times, but you need to hear it. The key is they say it out of love. There is no jealousy, no competition, no envy, there is only love. Wounds from a friend are trusted wounds, but beware of the kisses from your enemy. One more time, Wounds from a friend are trusted wounds, but beware of the kisses from your enemy.
I am blessed with a true friend and I value this friendship more than she will ever know. We have both wronged each other in the past and have learned from it and the thought of losing her friendship is something I will never take for granted. I will never do something to her I would not want done to me. Devine and profound Friendships are from God himself. How Great Thou Art! Even in sadness we must keep Joy and count our blessings!
Again, yes we all need to be told by our true friends that we are doing something wrong but remember this “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Don’t look to be better than your friend, just be their friend. Never be self-righteous, all have fallen short and need forgiveness.
A loving friend will stop you before you jump out of a plane without parachute on. They won’t watch you jump and tell you how wrong you were for not putting a parachute on. They will look to jump out with two parachutes and put one on you as you fall together.
So how do we know the difference?
What if a “friend” is telling you things out of “love” but truly it’s out of something selfishness? You need to ask yourself the following:
Do they make time for you in their busy schedule or is it always on their time?
Do they want you to mainly do the things that they want to do?
Do they understand your situation and help you while you are going through it, or point out all you have done wrong?
Regardless of your age, are your lives at different points in life and they still want you to be who you were before your life changed?
If you disagree on something do they lash out on a personal level?
Do you feel you need to compromise who you are to be their friend?
Do you feel you need to go out of your way to please or appease them?
If you find yourself in any of these friendships, you must stop and look if it’s a one-sided friendship. If the scale is always tipped in one direction, nothing will ever be balanced.
There is a saying that if you don’t love and support me at my worst you don’t deserve me at my best.
Make sure you are not confusing loving words with a false, selfish, contentious, jealousy and a competitive spirit.
Enjoy life, Love your Family and Friends, Tell them you love them, and don’t take anything for granted, give thanks in all things! If you have a true friendship, do your part and be supportive, Stand with your friend in the fire, don’t put them in the fire! Forgive and forget. Look at your true friend(s) as a gift from God.
We can’t stop the rain falling but we can enjoy what comes from it. Thank you to all my family and friends that never left my side!
Some of God’s Word on what a friend is and is not.
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.”
“Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.””
“Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.”
“For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”
In loving memory of Andrew G. Tuma who went home at age 31
K. Chambers 11-19-13
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