In our world that has gone crazy with slander, betrayal and treachery, there has never been a greater time that we need true and faithful friends.
I don’t mean the “friend” that you might greet over the backyard fence or in a bookstore coffee shop. I mean someone who understands the “staying power” of mortar to brick when tsunamis of sorrow or loss or trauma hit you full on in the face.
“True Friendship isn’t about being there when it’s convenient.
It’s about being there when it’s not.”
GENUINE FRIENDSHIP INVOLVES A SHARED “EVIDENCE” OF CARING
and concern, a desire to see one another grow and develop, and a hope for each other to succeed in all facets of life.
TRUE FRIENDSHIP INVOLVES ACTION
Doing something for someone else while expecting nothing in return; sharing thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or discouraging criticism.
I personally, have been blessed beyond the wildest of my dreams with friends that have so lovingly walked with me through devastations, loss, illnesses and times of deep agony. They held my heart in their hands and lifted it up to the King of Mercy and healing, and would not let go until He himself brought refreshing and Hope.
Each of them has also passed through deep pain and times of near death, be it emotionally, physically spiritually or relationally. And out of all of this trauma a deep bond was forged by the Hand of the One who Himself calls us Friends.
“If one falls down, his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
TRUE FRIENDSHIP INVOLVES RELATIONSHIP.
Many people say, "Oh, he or she's a good friend of mine," yet they never take time to spend time with that "good friend." Friendship takes time: time to get to know each other, time to build shared memories, time to invest in each other's growth. My experiences have taught me that if someone loves things, positions, or titles more than relationship, than when times get tough, holding onto things and position are wedges that ruin friendships.
Trust is so very necessary to have true friendship. We all need someone with whom we can share our lives, thoughts, feelings, and frustrations. We need to be able to share our deepest secrets with someone, without worrying that those secrets will end up on the World Wide Web! When we fail to be trustworthy with the private and sacred secrets of our friends it can destroy a friendship in a hurry.
FAITHFULNESS AND LOYALTY ARE ESSENTIAL TO TRUE FRIENDSHIP.
Without them, we often feel betrayed, left out, and lonely. In true friendship, there is no backbiting, no judgmental thought, no turning away. There are often very tender and emotionally difficult times in Godly friendships, where we will be required to lovingly address a very painful and difficult situation with someone we dearly love and respect. It will cost us the risk of even perhaps causing a temporary pain to a loved friend in order to help them see where there might be a weakness of character or some deception that would otherwise ruin them.
Real and true friendship involves freedom of choice, accountability, truth, and forgiveness. Peter and Jesus give us this example: Peter, afraid for his life after Jesus is led away from the Garden of Gethsemane, denies knowing Jesus (John 18). As He is led away by His accusers, Jesus looks at Peter and says, "I knew you would deny Me, and I forgive you" (John 21).
REAL FRIENDSHIP LOOKS AT THE HEART,
NOT JUST THE "PACKAGING."
Genuine friendship loves for love's sake, not just for what it can get in return. True friendship is both challenging and exciting. It risks, it overlooks faults, and it loves unconditionally, but it also involves being truthful, even though it may hurt. A false friend will “skate over” the issue and pretend to be passive and indifferent to any situation that might put them into a place of asserting any personal emotion or investment.
Proverbs 27:6 really states this so beautifully.
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
But an enemy multiplies kisses.”
TRUE FRIENDSHIP REQUIRES CERTAIN ACCOUNTABILITY FACTORS.
Real friends encourage one another and forgive one another where there has been an offense. Genuine friendship supports during times of struggle.
Real friends are dependable. In true friendship, unconditional love develops. We love our friends no matter what and we always want the best for our friends.
We pour out willingly and with joy from our own personal resources and talents and gifts so that our friends might be refreshed, blessed, and given joyful times of rich celebration of sharing the blessing of the Lord that we have been so lavished upon by Him.
I HAVE BEEN LOVED SO VERY DEEPLY BY MY DEAREST OF FRIENDS.
They whisper to me in the night seasons when I cannot seem to hope or see my way, and the tell me of the love and future that the Father has for me. They give wise counsel and pour into the wounded places of broken promises, betrayals, and anxiety, the perfume of grace. I have feasted upon their kindness until I again sing and rejoice in God my Savior. They have taught me to rest and enjoy the gift of sharing in their abundance.
The taste of food and simple cups of coffee are much more savory to me in the company of a friend who can sit and sound the depths of the love the Father has for us, regardless of who might be listening to us dialog.
“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
And the pleasantness of one's friend
Springs from his earnest counsel.”
WHEN WE INVEST INTO FRIENDSHIP,
It costs us time, personal sacrifice and energy. We give before the need becomes so great that we see our beloved friends humiliated and groping. We listen ever so intently to the voice of the Lord our God as His tells us of the prayer and help our weakened members might be facing. A friend who walks in the imitation of Christ extends the hand of mercy, grace, and help, way before the foot of their companion stumbles.
“Greater love has no one than this,
That he lay down his life for his friends.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LAY DOWN OUR LIVES FOR OUR FRIENDS?
I think we all know the answer and if we are willing, can hear even now the prompting of the Lord to assist one of our friends and perhaps in loving sacrifice, minimize our own importance and “perceived needs” in order that our friends would be made whole and walk again without weariness and discouragement.
"A FRIEND IS SOMEONE WHO KNOWS THE SONG IN YOUR HEART,
AND CAN SING IT BACK TO YOU…
…WHEN YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN THE WORDS."
Lip service and action in friendship are huge measuring rods to gauge the depth of care that we might have for our “so-called” friends. I have walked among the rich and among the poor and the most important determining factor of friendship in those settings is the freedom to be able to share and enjoy with them regardless of the lack or abundance of material substance. There can be bitter grasping and a sour clutching of even the smallest of morsels when someone is bound by the fear of “sharing.” Yet, even among the most beautiful and affluent of places, when friendship in Christ is the focus, earthly things pale in the light of mutual gratefulness for all the Lord has done among us as friends.
DON’T LOOK TO BE ONE WHO HAS MANY MANY “ADMIRERS”
and acquaintances. Again. True friendship in a Christ-like focus is like a family in a Royal Kingdom. It takes us into another place of intimacy and faithfulness that the World finds impossible to sustain.
“A man of many companions may come to ruin,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
A PERSONAL MOMENT OF THANKS
I wish to say to those of you (you know who you are!) who have been so very abundantly kind and true to myself and my husband and our children, your unconditional arms of compassion and strength have been like a hedge of protection and a safe place to rest under the shadow of the wings of our King. The times when I was strong and you were weakened were a joy to me as I was able to in turn, surround you in prayer, love, and grace. This mutual “Dance of abiding in unity” and fidelity of friendship has granted to us a family that lasts for Eternity.
AS WE CONTINUE TO GROW IN MATURITY AND TRUST
in the Power of God’s redemptive love, may the world come to know that there are friendships found in the “Beloved” that create a bond between heaven and earth that no distress, no tragedy and no devastation can destroy.
Let us continue to allow the Father to grow these beautiful vines and woven cords of strength as we yield to His service offered to one another, in sacrificial honor unto the ONE who paid the ultimate price for our ability to have Friendship with Him.
“But you, dear friends,
Build yourselves up in your most holy faith
And pray in the Holy Spirit.”