I had a conversation not to long ago with a friend of mine. He had joined the rest of the world and had gotten a facebook account. Our conversation wasn't about facebook really but was more about the people who were sending him "friend request" on facebook. He was rejecting people's friend request because in his words "I don't know most of these people and the ones that I do know, I don't like"!
You're probably thinking that my friend sounds ridiculous. I know I did. Because most people accept nearly everyone that sends them a friend request, because it is the polite thing to do. After all you can always hide them later on and they will be none the wiser. However the more I got to thinking about it the less crazy I began to think my friend actually was.
I have had the thought for a long time that most people have lost the definition of what "true friendship" is. We've gotten to the place where we call everyone our friend, buddy, mate, our girl, or our bff. But most the time the only time you ever hear from them or the only time they hear from us for that matter is when one of us needs to borrow something or one of us needs a favor. I don't know about you, but for me this can be extremely frustrating. I grew up with parents and grandparents that would do almost anything in the world to help people out, but so often when they needed something in return their "friends" were nowhere to be found. So many of us know exactly how this feels but have come to except it as part of life. When you find a great friend you lock on, consider yourself lucky, and don't let go.
So what is a friend? Websters Dictionary defines it as: One attached to another by affection or esteem, one that is not hostile, an acquaintance or a favored companion.
Sounds to textbook to me. When I think of a friend I think of someone that will drop what they're doing if I need help (as long as it's legal of course). They will talk to me just because, there doesn't always have to be a reason. Someone who will support me, cheer me on, and give me Godly advice even when it's not advice I want to hear. Someone who will encourage me when no one else will. Someone who will laugh, cry, and celebrate life with me. One who will also "yank my chain" (get onto me) when I need it yanked! I could go on and on but for times sake I won't.
I think as Christians it's time for us to step up our game and start taking friendship more seriously. I think Christians should be the best friends out there. To often I've found it to be exactly the opposite. My non-christian friend have been the ones that are the greatest at just being a friend. To me that's sad. Not that non-christians can't be friendly but that Christians should be even better because we have the best example.... Jesus.
So, what does the bible have to say about friendship?
Proverbs 18:24 says "A man that has friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother".
Matthew 7:16 in NLT says: "You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act".
But more than just what was said. Jesus showed love in everything He did. He was always reaching out and going farther than anyone else. He was going out of His way to help peolpe.
I think that we talk to much about reaching a world with the gospel but often are unwilling to put in the time to become friends with the lost and hurting. To see where they're coming from. To love the unloveable. What would happen if we did? Maybe they would begin to listen to what you have to say. Maybe you wouldn't have to say anything. After all our biggest pulpit is often our actions not our words.
My dad started a church in San Marcos. Moving day came and wouldn't you know it was on a hot August day. We of course had let the church know that we would be moving our stuff and that some help would be greatly appreciated. We arrived but of course no one else ever did. It was hot we were miserable and were both exhausted. Through the exhaustion and sweat my dad said these words that have stuck with me. He said "Son, you know who your friends are and who's really with you on moving day". I found those words ring true. When things get tuff your "friend list" gets shorter and shorter.
I don't want anyone reading this to think the reason for this post is because I'm upset with someone. Trust me I'm not. That isn't the reason I wrote this. It was just something I've been thinking about for a while now. Something that God has challenged me on. I don't want to be someone who calls everyone a friend just because they can do something for me. But I want to be the guy who thinks more about what I can do for them. How can I help them? How can I be there for them? How can I be a better support to them? Even if they never return the favor. If they never offer to help me, ever shouldn't matter to me. Should it? We need to stop focusing on everyone else and start focusing on what God has called us to do. Who God has called us to be. After all maybe it's not all about me at all but more about being who God has called me to be.
So I've decided (with God's help) to be friends with people that need a friend. To try and be a better friend to them than they have or will ever be to me. Except the fact that they aren't perfect nor am I and except their shortcomings. Smile when they don't call back even when they swore said they would.
But I'm also gonna celebrate friends like the one who started this whole thing. The one that takes his friendships so seriously; that he's reluctant on who he sends friend request to and who he excepts as his friend on facebook. Because you know someone like that doesn't just call everyone they meet "friend". I thank God that he has put a few people in my life that take their friendships that seriously. As seriously as I do.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I pray that God blesses you and surrounds you with great friends, with friends that last a lifetime, and with the ability to be and even better friend to someone else who needs it. Amen:)