I’ve been thinking about friendship lately. It’s a very important part of life. Probably the only part here on earth. Here are some observations.
- Friendship is not primarily about me. It is about the other person. If my focus is on myself, I’ll be miserable. If I focus on the other person and how I can make them happy, I will be surprised how much joy I will “receive”.
- Friendship needs to be lived out in the context of the gospel of grace that I have been given.
- Friendship is based on truth. However, truth is not the pre-eminent characteristic. I give truth in my friendships, but not always every piece of truth. It is always balanced with love...BOLD LOVE.
- Friendship is based on my vulnerability. If the friendship ends, I will have revealed enough of myself that I will be hurt. Again, see the example of Christ: John 1:10-11. It is another of life’s conundrums.
- The example of true friendship is Christ: GOD Incarnate. Philippians 2:5-10. He did not grasp the privileges to which He was entitled but humbled Himself. He left the glories of heaven to limit Himself to human flesh and time. Imagine!
- When someone doesn’t want to be as intimate in a friendship as I do, I can’t browbeat them to become more intimate. It is possible that something about my style is intimidating or for some reason just doesn’t resonate with them. Sometimes I can change my manner, sometimes not. I can still be friendly to someone I feel “rejected” by.
Another way to say it is “Move toward them in relationship, not away from them.” As part of our ministry to them, we may need to be in a less intimate relationship than we would prefer. Does that mean we walk away from them if they don’t comply and “open up” to us? NO! I didn’t say it was easy.
- Humility, grace, truth and love go a long way in friendship. These traits are crucial in any relationship, particularly a friendship.
- We must show that we love a person for who they are NOW when we offer the gift of friendship. Remember the way GOD has loved us? He accepts us the way we are…but doesn’t allow us to stay that way! This is especially true if we see the rough side of a person. Which takes me back to the second point above:)
God has used friendships to both minister grace to me over the years as well as tear me to shreds inside. Then I had to turn to Him. That is always a good thing but it is often painful.
- How is GOD using you in the lives of others to minister grace through friendship?
- How has He used others to minister grace to you through friendship in the past?
- Do you have any other observations to add? Share them with us.