“What about your friends will they stand their ground
Will they let you down yeah, yeah
What about your friends are they gonna be low down
Will they ever be around or will they turn their backs on you”
I love the movie “I Love You, Man” where Paul Rudd’s character has to find a man to become his friend and Best Man at his wedding. His character mentions how it comes natural to seek out a girlfriend, but to find a male friend is difficult. I didn’t have many friends growing up. I was teased and bullied in elementary school, and in high school I never really fit in and was never invited to hang out. More than a couple times, I was severely let down and betrayed by people I thought were my friends. When I became a Christian, I finally meet some genuine friends, some of whom have been life long friends.
While people in the Church are of course human and flawed like anyone, I have met some amazing people in the family of God. Friends and mentors who were there to listen and not judge me, to allow me room to grow in my newfound spiritual life and to be encouraging even when I stumbled. In the Church, you will find people that will listen, pray for you, and be there when you need them. The Church takes a lot of criticism –including from the inside–but we can’t ignore the powerful and life-changing relationships developed in healthy church community.
It’s very difficult these days to find solid friends. I know many people who feel the same way. We are good at being social, at having a lot of Christian acquaintances, but close fellowship is not easy to come by. I’ve been fortunate to find some great friends over the years, despite the times that friendships haven’t really developed. I encourage you to look around, keep your heart and life open to the people around you, and to strive to be loving and encouraging to others. I’ve always heard that the best way to make a good friend is to be a good one. If we open up, reach out, and show others that we’re there for them to be a solid friend, we will start to see it reciprocated by the right people.
What does genuine friendship mean? It means we don’t size people up and judge them based on externals. I have a difficult time with this, because I’ll often judge people at first meeting them and think I won’t have much in common with them. If I give them a chance, I can find out there’s more to them and we can find ways to connect. Genuine friendship means picking up the phone at midnight and talking a friend through a struggle. It means praying with someone on the spot, or helping be a distraction from a stressful day. Genuine friendships are the kind where you don’t have to wonder IF you’re going to hang out with that person this week, but it’s just a matter of what you’ll be doing together.
Genuine friends don’t leave you out or make you feel unwelcome. They get beyond the surface and learn to appreciate who you are, and encourage you in your goals and dreams. They hold you accountable in your spiritual life, and knowing them improves your walk with God. “As iron sharpens iron…”
I am truly thankful to God for bringing so many great friends into my life over the years. Why don’t you take time this week to reach out to the people in your life who are loyal and always there for you, and drop them a thank you note and show them you appreciate them?
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”