Sunday, July 22, 2012

What Makes a Good Friend?

There are many things a good friend will tell you.  Things like when you have food stuck in your teeth, if the jeans you are wearing really do make you look fat and that you really aren't crazy like the "real" crazy people in this world.  Friends can make us laugh, cry and talk way into the middle of the night.  There are seasons to friendships.  With the ebb and flow of life and the constant life changes we all go through our circle of friends changes too.  When we were elementary age we called them  all "best friends." In reality we had no idea what this really meant because one day Suzie was my best friend then she didn't pick me to play four-square so Angela was my best friend.  Then the next day Angela didn't want to play freeze tag with me but Suzie and now Linda wanted to swing from the Monkey bars.  It was all very confusing.  Friendships were only based on what the other person would do for me.  As I grew up and friends moved away I discovered it wasn't so much about them wanting to be with me, but how much I wanted to be with them.  This is a God given need created in each of us - to have friendship or fellowship. 

Today I don't consider myself to have a "best friend."  I have  lots of good friends.  It's hard to stay connected in a culture as ours.  We are more electronically connected than ever before. Truly we aren't really connected. Neighbors wave and then drive on by, no stopping for sun tea.  Garage doors open and then close.  The days of running next door for a cup of sugar are long gone.  I post my status updates, being sure my pictures match. It's all fake. It's not real.  It's just a front.  What I really want is a friend to see me for who I really am.  That I too leave dishes piled high in the sink, that laundry sits on my floor for days not folded and tucked away in drawers, and that mail clutters my kitchen counter-tops. But I post the homemade pie all Martha Stewart like. Why do we continue to pretend? Deep down we really do want a good friend.  We just go about it all wrong.  It's not a competition to see who has the best vacations, newest clothes or cutest kids.  No we just want to be accepted for who we really are. 

Many of my friends don't even live in the same city or for that matter the same state as me.  We can have a phone conversation today and then not speak for months.  When we do speak we pick up right where we left off.  There is no expectation that this other person has to do certain things for me in order for me to be their friend. A good friend listens to your heart.  They can stand with you as you weather the storms of life.  They pray with out ceasing on your behalf. A good friend will understand when you need to apologize for careless words.  They forgive you when you mess up.  They will gladly bring you another meal, wash your toilets and buy you another mocha in spite of your short comings.

We can't measure our skill level of aquiring or keeping friends based on the number of friends we have on Facebook. Remember it's just a click: click to accept, click to reject. No, this is not a number that can be measured.  To be called a friend is a high honor.  It is a noble thing.  It has to do with love.

A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17

It takes love to be a friend.  With out love we are merley clanging cymbals blowing in the wind. I must remember this each time I go to update my status.  For if we are called to love others, especially those we call friends and we fail at this, what hope then is there for those who we consider our enemies?  We are told to love our enemies also. For they themselves show love to others. (Mather 5:46-47)

A good friend of mine just came to visit. We spent time reminiscing.  We spent time catching up. We spent time listening,  We spent time crying.  We spent time praying.  This is what makes a good friend.

Love you T!

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