Friends. What are they?
Is a friend someone who sits by you in algebra and lets you use their calculator?
That person who takes the I’m-not-trying-to-be-cool-I-just-am hipster pictures at the coffee shop with you?
The person who you tells you when your breath is a little under the weather?
Friends have been on my mind lately. Since moving to a new school and town, friends going off to college, etc. And I must say that I have been extremely blessed with Christian sisters (and brothers, but realize that I will focus on sisters) who constantly point me towards Jesus, and remind me of the gospel.
So what are these sisters of mine like? And how do they remind me of the gospel?
What does Jesus have to say about friends?
Specifically Christian friendships?
Is the person who is faithful to taking hipster pictures and warning you about bad-breathe days a true friend?
Let’s find out.
This is the one thing I believe makes every friendship thrive– honestly. (Punily hilarious, I know, 🙂 )
And no– I don’t mean just being honest with your friend about her unflattering dress or what Susie-Q said during World History about her eye-liner.
I mean, that when approached with real, embarrassing, devastatingly hard situations, there is no with-holding of truth.
When her friend-boy for ten-months was unfaithful, when you have hurt her, when she has wronged you, when she needs the truth, when you need the truth:
Friends are called to be honest with one another.
No one wants a false friendship build on superficial oh-it’s-fine’s and I’m-okay’s.
Because friendship is about being there for each other when it isn’t okay.
When you’ve been wronged, when you have done the wrong, and you are honest, whether it’s about your feeling of being wronged or doing the wrong, there is freedom to share in the struggle.
Because of your authenticity, you are now truly known by someone, and you truly know someone when you know not only the parts that they want to present– but the parts that they hide.
Because anyone can show you their made-up, polished parts, but when someone lets you into their darkness, and they know your dark, shameful places as well, then comes freedom to be broken together.
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another – Ephesians 4:25
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. – John 8:32
You are not perfect. She is not perfect.
Whether you realize it or not, you are both insecure, scared, ashamed, jealous, and longing for approval.
You are both sinners.
So when your sister has sinned against you or another, you are called to forgive.
(I am also speaking to myself; I don’t want to sound like I think I do any of this perfectly.)
There is a healthy balance in relationships– don’t be close with someone who constantly hurts you… (that’s common sense). And forgiveness is commanded from every person to every person– but especially for the friend who sticks by your side, for the friend who does honestly value you as a sister, forgiveness is vital.
And you should expect the same of her! Because– surprise– you and I are sinners, too. Therefore, we also need forgiving friends.
So forgive, because we are all in need of grace, and we have been given grace beyond comprehension.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:31-32
Probably one of the best books I ever read, (that’s another thing for another day– but get it and read it and love it).
But it taught me a really good lesson– love does.
Because it does.
Love isn’t just words or a noun– love is action.
Love requires commitment, forgiveness, honesty… wait– isn’t there a verse on this? 😀
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.– 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
So what is friendship?
Friendship is a picture of the gospel. It’s about seeing someone as and their true human self, which is messy, insecure, vulnerable, jealous, etc.– and choosing to love them any way. Because you are that person, a sinner, too. When you see your friend at her darkest hour, when she gives herself away to that boy, when she cries in anger and frustration about her family, when she struggles with the same sin over and over and light seems so far away, you love her anyway. Because you are dark, and you are nasty, and there was a Father who chose to love you anyway.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. And we love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:18-19
– Mary Madeline