Monday, May 23, 2011

True Friends

What is a friend? It's much different than an aqauintance, or an associate. In our world of social networking we often think of friends as someone who is on our list, and some of those we wouldn't even recognize if they were to talk to us face to face. It doesn't mean there isn't some level of comradarie there or a level of friendship, just that there are some defining charactaristics of friends.

A friend is someone who is always there for you. Proverbs 18:24 There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother

You see a true friend doesn't need things from you to be present. When I was going to college I was very poor. I lived in a small house that was often dirty, and I do not mean just a little but filthy. I didn't have money to eat everyday and often ate with my parents instead. On the weekends it was a popular place! There were always people there eating whatever I had gathered for the parties, drinking the alcohol, and having a blast. They were my 'friends'. Then I stopped drinking, and began to try to live for God. It was amazing how few people came by anymore. How many of them didn't even talk to me in the hallways at college. I wasn't even one of those bold Christians, I was shy about my faith. That's when I realized that they weren't freinds... they were there as long as they got something out of it.

Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken

True friendship is a two way street. It doesn't have to be earned or purchased. It also ins't just one person 'needing' the other all the time. There should be conversations on both sides! We all have problems, but it's very draining when we attach ourselves to a 'friend' who never wants to know how we are, or even bothers to ask. They simply send us messages or comments about their life, and never about each others. There should be days when you think of your friend and call them or send them an email and say, I haven't heard from you in a long time. I was worried about you! Or we send them a private message and say "Hey I was thinking about you today! God put you on my heart, and I just wanted to say I really do cherish you as a friend."

Proverbs 17:17 A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need

You see a friend is someone who gives as much as they take, if not more so. If both friends are giving, neither will have want for anything in the relationship. It's just as important that you learn what is bothering your friends, as it is for your friends to learn what is bothering you. It's also important to realize there ARE draining spirits out there. These are those friendships where you never get any give or take, only take. Where that 'friend' never cares about you and how you are doing, but is always complaining, whining about their life, and never listening to a word you say. They aren't using you for comfort, they just want to have a sounding board.. someone to listen to 'me me me.' Friendship isn't about 'me'. It's about 'us'. Part of us is you! It's ok to tell someone when you're genuinely hurting, but you need to listen to what they say! You need to try to feel better and at some point, even if you're not feeling better say "enough about me! Let's talk about you now!"

Proverbs 27:9 The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.

Friends are honest with one another. We don't tell each other things only to make us feel better... we tell them because it's the truth. We come out and say 'You're problem is this!' Tact is important, becaues we shouldn't casually hurt one another. But sugar coating, or lying to make someone feel better will not help them! They need the truth, and they need to accept it. WE also need the truth, and should be willing to listen to our friends.. because our true friends are coming from their heart. They are telling us the truth BECAUSE they love us.

John 15:13–15 There is no greater love than 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 slaves, because a master doesn't confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me

And finally, true friendship is about sacrifice! It's about doing things we don't want to do, because our friends need us! It's about being there when the friend needs us, and about our friends being there for us as well! A true friend will offer to help when you have a problem. He will take you out when you're sad and sit and listen. And most of all, he'll sacrifice his time. Time seems to be the most valuable thing in our society. We hear 'time is money' or 'my time isn't free.' That makes it even more important to give your time! A few moments of just listening, or being a shoulder to cry on can be a moment that lasts a life time.

Are you a true friend? Do you listen to your friends talk? Or are you simply waiting for your 'turn' to speak. Do you genuinely know your friends and what they do? What makes them happy? What makes them sad? Do you spend time with them? Or only come around when 'you' need something. Remember two things, a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend is not just a person, but a friend. They need you as much as you should need them. You should spend time with them, speak to them, love them! Secondly, Jesus Christ is your friend. Have you been spending time with Him? Do you pray only when you need something? Or do you pray when everything is wonderful and simply say, Thank you Lord! Do you spend your time speaking at God, but not to? Is it only a one way street? When was the last time you 'stopped' and 'listened?'

In Christ,