Lately the Lord has put on my heart the meaning of the word friend and the actions of a friend. Over a month ago I ran into an old high school friend at a funeral. We used to be best buds in high school. I left and went off to college and ran into her once when I returned home. As a matter of fact, she is the one who introduced me to my ex-husband, some 36 years ago. Oh my Lord, I am old. So I got to thinking about the people I thought were friends over the years. I have one friend who have been a friend since the fourth grade and one friend I’ve had since first grade that share the same date of birth as I. I still keep in touch with these two people. My mom was funny about us having friends period, and now I sort of understand why.
About 30 years ago, I became friends with a co-worker and their new family. That friend had gone through a divorce from an abusive alcoholic, so they were still attending Al-Anon meetings as a former spouse of an alcoholic. One day, that friend gave me a book titled One Day At A Time In Al- Anon. I didn’t see the need for that book, because I’ve never been an alcoholic. You know I love to read, period.
I came across the book the other day and began reading it again, this time more so, reading with the Holy Spirit.
Knock! Knock! I ran across that old friend and their spouse last year while out shopping at Lowe’s. They were the most loving people. I asked them how they were doing and they said in unison “living in Christ, one day at a time…” I shared this experience to say that some friendships are only for a moment and there are some people that God places in our lives for a reason, even if temporarily.
And then…there are those that we thought were friends, but find out otherwise. For those people, I have learned that we can move on and forgive when we have a heart like Jesus. We can continue to pray for them and love them from afar, yet be there for them when they need help.
We as humans have a difficult time rekindling failed friendships without bringing up, you did this or you said that. People will not admit to their deceit and try to blame it on others while at the same time having others believe awful things about you. When you discern people treating you distantly, it is usually because of the ills of a badly chosen friends lip service. I’ve seen and heard stories of such things going on in the church. (sad) Therefore I believe that being around such people can interfere with one having a heart like Jesus. As Christians, we do not need distractions that will take us away from God.
Sometimes, we use work, family, and even church duties as an excuse for not making time for those we consider a friend. Everything is rush, people stop communicating, demeanor changes, or they say “I don’t have time” or “let me get back to you later” and later never comes. Sigh!
I’ve learned that even those who call themselves friends in Jesus can turn out to be the wrong friends because of deceitful webs weaved and travelling gossip tendencies. Now that is really sad! I have discovered that permanent friends like Elijah and Elisha’s friendship are a very rare relationship. I have also discovered that you do not fry green tomatoes using Jiffy cornbread mix when you are out of cornmeal. :-P
Now, let us take a look at the word and then I shall share a few scriptures I think relative to the actions of having and being a friend.
Friend- noun: a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations : a person who acts as a supporter of a cause, organization, or country by giving financial or other help:
Proverbs 27 Be ATTENTIVE to verses; 3-6, 9-10, 17,and 23(this one’s the booger we need to apply in friendships!) (TYHS)
John 15:11-15 –I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
Job 2:11-13- When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.
Exodus 33:11 –The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.
(Friend Application – “face to face, as one speaks to a friend” not back to back, learn to communicate. We all get hurt feelings.)
Meanwhile, back at the friend cave let us pray: Psalm 141:4 -“Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies.” In Jesus name, Amen.
Excerpt from One Day At A Time In Al- Anon-Jan 5
This day I will concentrate on the inner meaning of the Commandment “Thous shalt love they neighbor as thyself.” I will accept myself, for that is the primary condition under which the good in me can grow. Unless I am at peace with the child of God I am, I cannot love and help neighbor. Regrets are vain. They interfere with the good I could do today, the making of the better person I want to be tomorrow. “Today I pray for wisdom to build a better tomorrow on the mistakes and experiences of yesterday.”
In Jesus, may you remember that you will always have a friend if you do what He commands.
Extra Reading Credit
I Love You
Love Covers a Multitude of Sins