Friend

Friends love all the time, and kinsfolk are born for times of trouble.

There are persons for companionship, but then there are friends who are more loyal than family. 

Trustworthy are the bruises of a friend; excessive are the kisses of an enemy.

Someone will say to him, “What are these wounds between your hands?”
And he will say, “These happened when I was hit in my friends’ home.”

But Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came and grabbed Jesus and arrested him.

-Proverbs 17:17 & 18:24, Zech. 13:6. Matt. 26:47-50

I've had the idea that friendships are important to God and I believe God notices lonely people and tries to find friends for them.  If you are a child of God, it is likely that God may place you next to someone who needs a friend.

A friend can be someone just a bit beyond an acquaintance.  They might be someone you connect with, have something in common with, or enjoy laughing with.  This friend might not be there for you on your rainy day, which I guess is why we call people in this category, "fair weather friends".

At the other end of the range on friendships, there are friends that are closer to you than your own family.  Some people might say, "what closeness from family?"  Those people, for many reasons, might never have had genuine closeness or loyalty from family.

Have you ever been beat up, with words; and have you ever been confronted or cared about enough to be confronted?  These are two different things.  When we are beat up, we might be shamed, judged, or cut into.  When we are confronted, in love; it is completely different.  That person is siding with God's love and you, in wisdom.  That is the essence of confrontation.  It might bruise us, because we are the one who is out of control, without restraint, and our friend has put a hold on us that says, "no further in our space"; and when we stubbornly writhe, we bruise.

Another aspect of friendships is that our friends wound us.  These are not the bruises of a faithful friend who is standing with God and us in wisdom.  We are like porcupines and when we draw close to one another, we hurt each other.  For this reason, some people stay away from intimate Christian fellowship, and prefer to just be a consumer.  But the rewards of koinonia, massively outweigh the pain and disappointment.  The house of friends is a house of healing and grace. 

Jesus called Judas, "friend ".  How can that be and what does that mean?  It means that we can be betrayed by a friend.  It is always a possibility, but friendships are still worth it.  It also means that friendships have a range of loyalty and faithfulness.  Your friendship towards another may be light years ahead of their friendship towards you.  Your friend may be a taker and an opportunist towards you, while you lay down your life for them.  If that is you, you are in very good company.

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