Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Is Friendship? Part One of Friendship Series

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ESV

Well, it's that time again. Time for New Year's resolutions. I hate doing those because I mostly fail at keeping them. I make these huge sweeping goals and fail them. So for years, I wouldn't make a resolution or my resolution was not making resolutions. If I was serious about losing weight, I'd just lose weight, but it wasn't a resolution.

I even did the Christian New Year's resolution. One goal was speaking the truth in love. I failed that in two months. First, I didn't have those conversations that would require me to speak the truth in love. I'm not talking about the "how are you? What did you do over the weekend?" conversations. I'm talking the "someone telling you something that required counsel" conversation. Totally avoided them. They'd start, and I'd get off the phone. 

Then I got the call, and did not practice what I preached. That person, while needing some correction, did not need to be raked over coals, but they were. Don't worry, we still speak to each other. Resolution failed most spectacularly.

So, for the upcoming year, I've decided to focus on reflecting Christ more. And in order to do that, I need to start with those I know before I even try to start with a stranger, plus you never know who is watching.

What I have in mind is to try to be the epitome of this scripture: 

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 whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:12-14 NIV

A daunting task, no doubt, but doable (I hope). Pray my strength, y'all. But I am after all, not alone in this humongous endeavor. I just need to have faith, well, that is, work my faith. We are admonished to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Or to simplify it even more: " . . . Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him." New Living Translation of Phillipians 2:12b-13.

And as you can see doing that also includes speaking the truth in love. I may have taken a break, but I definitely have not given up on that goal. I don't give up unnecessarily. That is my nindo.

I am at the church of my nurturers. A few have gone, but a good group is still there, and it's now my turn to help them. So I got to get my tongue straight, and I got to keep Christ at the forefront.

But as the scripture said we perish for lack of knowledge, so I need to learn much about friendship.

There are many scriptures that cover what is a friend; what it means to be a friend; and what type of person should not be a friend.

I have seen plenty of "friends" come and go. And what I do know is friendship needs to be nurtured by both sides. Let me type that again (and in bold letters): friendship needs to be nurtured by both sides.

So what does God's word say about the meaning of friendship: Plenty. But to keep it simple, it boils down to this:  Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10

When I think of friendship in the secular, two songs come to mind: "What About Your Friends?" by pop and R&B group TLC, and "Friends" by rap group Whodini. The song by Whodini is mostly negative, and TLC's song asks you to question if your friends are actually your friend.

I think if we seek what Christ says about friendship, a lot of us will be shocked. What does He say?

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.  John 15:12-15 

What we need to be doing is trying to out-do one another with kindness. To pause and treat our friends (and our families and strangers) how we want to be treated. They will either step in line or step away. 

I have plenty of people that if I were to see them, I'd be exceptionally happy to see them. But in the same breath there is also a group where I just might cross the street to avoid them. Sometimes we just don't know or should I write, we didn't know how to be a friend or what to expect of a friend.

Well, the bible is our instruction manual and just as we use it to know right from wrong, and to be reminded of all the things God has done, we should use the bible for our every day things, too. That means learning about friendship, money, corrections, and the expectations of God. 

He wants us to be His reflection. Those baby demons in diapers, or Big Kid Now diapers in my case, attack because they see the Christ in you and love to ensnare you with lies and deception. And as you grow, they grow. But as you grow, you get stronger. Strong enough to out-maneuver, and finally fight back. Sometimes it's a knock-down dragged out fight, ending in a draw, and other times, you win, and you win BIG. But you got to work those kinks out, and you got to get that knowledge. So, let's work at being God's reflection in the coming year.

What resolutions are you planning to do? Tell me, I'd love to hear about it.

Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged and Happy New Year!


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