“The Year of Friendship: With God, Others and Self” – part 3
My wife and I recently spent an evening with friends we’ve known for nearly four decades. Such friends are pure gold; rare gems; and a joy to know. We’ve seen each other through the highest highs and the lowest lows. We’ve come alongside each other during times of grief and suffering as well as accomplishment and celebration. We’ve strongly urged one another on toward love and good deeds and we’ve quietly forgiven one another with grace and kindness. We know we’re far short of perfection and we’ve learned to laugh about our quirks and idiosyncrasies.
In short, we’ve experienced true friendship. And it’s been good for our souls, life-giving for others, and honoring to God.
To allow friendships to become anything other than honorable and grace-filled is to squander the work of God in our midst. The Kingdom of God is to be built up and expanded through the shared work of the Church, a community of like-minded and like-hearted friends. Not all of them BFF’s (best friends forever), but men and women, young and old, of all ethnicities and colors, who are on a worthy pursuit of friendship with God, one another and deep within ourselves. To treat one another in any lesser fashion is to miss one of life’s greatest gifts!
Today, are you a blessing and a joy to those who surround you as friends of Jesus who are befriending others in Jesus’ name? How do your initiatives and responses to your friends make Jesus smile?
Consider prayerfully the following phrases as you reflect on your friendships and audit their health…
The love of a friend is the best gift of all.
The presence of a friend is the balm for your weary soul.
The listening ear of a friend fosters the abundance of life.
The grace of a friend emulates the arms and voice of God.
Friends love at all times.
Friends rejoice when you rejoice.
Friends weep when you weep.
Friends warn you of pending troubles.
Friends graciously forgive you.
Friends inspire you to greatness.
Friends encourage your best self.
Friends share your joy and gift you with joy.
Friends laugh with and never at you.
Friends urge you onward and forward.
Friends never ridicule, shame or blame you.
Friends never desert you but always defend you.
Friends never purposefully harm you.
Friends pray for you.
Friends pray with you.
Friends always point you back to Jesus.
Behold Jesus, the One who calls you his beloved friend. Believe the priority of loving friendship for all of life. Belong to the community of friends of Jesus who delight in bearing fruit that lasts. Become renewed by the gifts of friendship received and offered in Jesus’ name.