07/31/2021

Celebrating Friendship

Do you have fond memories of 7th grade?

Maybe you were one of the cool kids or you had at least one loyal friendship to see you through those tumultuous, often cringe-worthy days, so the memories evoked by The Wonder Years—or similar coming of age shows—were not too painful.

But the scene pictured above hit a bit too close to home for me.

In 7th grade, I wasn’t cool, and I knew it. I remember the mean girl treatment—I don’t remember a single friendship. I wanted to forget those days forever, so when my yearbook arrived, I took a marker and completely blacked out crooked, cat-eyed glasses Kathy.

But God used it.

I learned what it felt like to NOT have friends.

This sensitized me to the feelings of others. (and I needed that sensitivity!)

I also learned that having at least one good friend was important. 

So when we moved to a new town—where no one knew crooked, cat-eyed glasses Kathy—I determinedly reinvented myself, swearing I would never again be at the bottom of the pecking order.

More importantly, I looked for—and found—a good friend. Another military brat and I spent countless happy hours just hanging out or eagerly exploring our new neighborhood together.

Then came 9th grade, and another new town. The fear of not fitting in and the knowledge that friendships are important, drove me to attach myself to the drinking crowd.

I was having the time of my life getting drunk every weekend my freshman year.  All I thought I needed to improve my “girls just wanna have fun” summer was to find a BOY friend.

But God used it.

Because I was boy crazy, I signed up for co-ed Young Life summer camp. Instead of finding a BOY friend, I found a Friend who would become my Best Friend—Forever.)

I learned that having the God of the Universe as my friend was way better than any boyfriend!

When I put my trust in Jesus that summer, He became—not only my Savior—but my friend. And as I eagerly read about Jesus in the gospels of my new Bible, I learned that I could be called “a friend of God!”

It was—and still is—mind-blowing that the God of the Universe wanted a relationship with me so much that He left His throne in heaven, became the God-man Jesus, and went all the way to the cross to make it happen!

The last three years of high school became an exciting adventure, growing in friendship with Jesus and enjoying mutual friends.

Then came the first lonely months of college.

But God used it.

I was primed to listen when a wise campus ministry leader shared, “to have a friend, you have to be a friend.”

I learned the importance of being a friend.

Ever since then, I have tried to be a friend to others just as Christ has been to me; before I cared a whit for Him, He initiated a relationship with me; when I put Him at arm’s length, He never deserted me; when I offended Him, He let me know; when I asked forgiveness, He forgave me.

Most recently, after 20 years in Northern Virginia, we moved to Charlottesville. Just as I was in the early stage of cultivating solid friendships, Covid happened. What takes years to establish barely got off the ground and came to a grinding halt.

No lunch dates to discover shared interests. No in-person Bible study to linger afterward and chit chat. No new relationships being built.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, What! You, too? I thought I was the only one.” C.S. Lewis

But God used it.

I learned the high value of old friendships. 

Truer words were never spoken: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”

Technology can be a relationship killer if it gets in the way of  person-to-person interaction. But thank goodness for technology during the worst of 2020-2021, before the vaccine, because it helped me stay connected—and get reconnected with old friends via Zoom or through nice long “catch-up” phone calls.

Most of all, I learned that friendships are a gift from God—and that “relationship”—relating to another—began with God.

Think about it. God has always been Father, Son and Holy Spirit enjoying eternal fellowship among the Trinity. He created man to be in relationship with Himself—and with others.

The triune God exemplified relationship, companionship, friendship—so after the creation of the first human, He declared that his creation was good—but not good enough.

God knew that earthbound Adam needed an earthly companion, “a helper suitable for him.”

So the Giver of All Good Things gave him one. Adam’s first earthly relationship brought creation to completion.

Not only was this gift of friendship good, it was very good.

Let’s celebrate it!


Rooted In Truth Scriptures:

  • A friend of God has an active faith in Him. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. James 2:23 (when “Abraham believed God,” it was multi-faceted, and was proved out over his lifetime. To read more, go to gotquestions.org/Abraham)
  • A friend of God doesn’t keep Him at arm’s length, but seeks to get to know Him and be known by Him. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8a (the same is true of being a friend to others!)
  • A friend of God obeys Him. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:9-15 (obedience to Christ’s commands is a proof of our true faith, our love for Jesus and the precursor to be called His friends. To read more go to gotquestions.org/obedience)
  • Friends “show up.” Friends go the extra mile, especially when you need it most. A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17:17 
  • Friends take the initiative—like Jesus did. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8 
  • Friends are honest with each other. …speaking the truth in love…Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:15, 25-27
  • Friends value relationship, so are willing to forgive and move on. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 Love…does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5

Growing In Love Practical Application: 

August 1st is National Friendship Day!

  • Make a list of the best friends God has gifted you with over the course of your life— starting in early childhood to present time. Give thanks!
  • Is Jesus on your friend list? If so, is He at the very top of your “A-list friends” or has He been bumped by busyness (or anything else) to your “B-list friends?”
  • If Jesus didn’t make the cut, maybe you don’t really know Him, yet. Find out more about the best friend anyone will ever have by reading the Gospels. My favorite is John. Or watch the story of the investigative journalist hellbent on discrediting Christianity in The Case For Christ.

  • Let your friends know how much they mean to you. It’s never too late.
  • Think of those friendships that need nurturing and take the initiative with a text, a written note or IMHO—the next best thing to being there—an actual phone call! Quality time is often achieved through quantity time. So it can be as simple as a short call on a regular basis or a longer “catch-up call” every few months. Keep track of your longer, less frequent calls so you can see when “it’s been too long”” since you caught up.
  • Plan an in-person visit with a friend you haven’t seen in a while if at all possible. If not, share a Zoom breakfast, lunch, tea-time or dinner.
  • BOLO (Be On the Look Out) for anyone God puts in your path who might need a friend. Then take the initiative! Introduce yourself—and follow up if they seem receptive.
  • When you need a friend, ask God to supply that need. Then while you are waiting, be a friend to someone else who needs a friend! 

To the “forever-friends” that God has given to me throughout my lifeto the one who crashed my 3rd birthday by arriving the day before; to the one who laughed at my lame potato chip joke on the first day of 4th grade; to the one I thought would be a perfect match for the man who would later sweep me off my feet; to the one who surprised me and proved true that “the more you look, the more you see!”; to the really “sweet” one who made me feel better when I saw the hole in the wall of her kitchen; to the one who celebrated with me on a beach with a bottle of champagne and an errant bottle rocket; to the one who stayed married because she made a promise to the God who—years later—restored her marriage; to the one who convinced 50+ high school tourists to sing Happy Birthday to me at The Jefferson Memorial; to the one who demonstrates perseverance, peace and joy in spite of major health challenges; to the two who shared almost daily walks, cupcake bets, birthday movies and lunches; to the one who censors naughty words from The Help, yet shares her “dirty laundry,” with me; to the ones who pray faithfully for me and my family and show up when it counts—in person or for a nice loooong phone call—you are God’s gift to me and I am so very grateful.


 Listen:

Tauren Wells – Like You Love Me 

Israel Houghton – Friend Of God – Lyric Video


Watch:

Best Buds

Favorite movies depicting friendships

Peanut Butter Falcon

Hidden Figures 

The Intouchables

Sister Act


Great quotes on friendship:

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, What! You, too? I thought I was the only one.” C.S. Lewis

“Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I’m glad for that.” – Ally Condie

“One measure of friendship consists not in the number of things friends can discuss, but in the number of things they need no longer mention.” – Clifton Fadiman

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

“Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me and I may be forced to love you.” – William Arthur Ward

“Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.” – Ed Cunningham

“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.” – Donald Miller

“A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.” – Donna Roberts

“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Carl W. Buechner

“I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun.” – Charles R. Swindoll

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.” – Helen Keller

“A good friend is a connection to life — a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.“ – Lois Wyse

“Friendship multiplies the good of life and divides the evil.” – Baltasar Gracian

“Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God’s greatest gifts. It involves many things, but above all the power of going out of one’s self and appreciating what is noble and loving in another.” – Thomas Hughes

“Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.” – Sicilian Proverb

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” – Thomas Aquinas

“Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.” – Aristotle

“I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.” – Robert Brault


 

 

 

 

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Latest Posts By Kathy

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friendship, loneliness, memories, outreach, priorities, Young Life

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