2014-02-19 - True Friends
Many years ago, I had a basic concept of what a good and trusted friend really meant. It has nothing to do with popularity in school or any other place, little to do with worldly success, very little to do with how you feel at any given moment - when life in the flesh hits you hard. One way I learned who true friends were was when I had to move away. The people I kept in contact with on some level are people I would consider true friends. Those who are still talking to you when people leave, people die, bankruptcy comes along, sickness comes along or anything like those types of situations come along. I would say its who still cares when youre rich and not about the money, but it doesnt apply. Yet I think that still is a telling factor in a true friendship.
Friendship is not, in my own opinion, about how many people is on a list of friends on Facebook®, for example. As explained by a New York Times article December 30th, 2013, Facebook® is an incorporated social media format that allows people to connect and advertisers to promote themselves on their pages. So, as more people use it, the more money that is potentially earned. The idea began as a way for College Students to connect, and wasnt really originally designed for the format that it has now taken. Either way, people make money by having more participants. That has nothing to do with a meaningful relationship as designed by God, involving friendship. Now it can be a way for people who actually care about each other to keep up with respective lives, when living in differing locations. So "unfriending" someone really doesnt mean anything, and someone who truly is your friend wouldnt ever consider the idea. But it would seem, unfortunately, that people now believe friends are people who do what we want, say what we want to hear, and always decide things based on how we feel rather than what makes sense.
Heres what I know about friendship. It starts with truth. One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 NIV) Its played out in actions. One day my Mom got a call from a friend of hers, and she wanted Mom to come visit. Mom said ok, and packed a bag and planned to go see her for the weekend. After she got to her friends house, they went to lunch, and Moms friend then introduced her to an unexpected visitor. Her friend told her the visitor was her boyfriend, and the problem was in the fact she was married to someone else. So Mom informed her she was not able to have lunch with a boyfriend, and then dinner with her husband, and pretend there was nothing going on. After an indication that her friend would want her to pretend, Mom went back to her house, packed up and left to go home. It was very hard for her, as this was what she considered one of the closest friends she had in her lifetime. Yet there are times that even when something isnt easy, we have to do whats right, and that could mean ending or suspending a friendship for a period of time.
A real friend wants what is best for someone, even when it isnt what they may want to hear at the time. That is what is meant by sticking closer than a brother. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. (Proverbs 27:6) Friends care deeply. Friends share joy in the morning and sorrow when it comes. Friends want people to be honest with them, and also want them to be fair and caring too.
We have a friend in Jesus. He corrects us. He lifts our spirits, sends us food, plans our future, cries with us, rejoices with us, and deeply cares for us in every part of our journey. And most importantly, he forgives us. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, Friend, your sins are forgiven. (Luke 5:20).
I prefer real friends.
All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.