Friendship 101

I have been truly blessed with an abundance of people who call me “Friend.” There was a time in my life a few years ago when I had almost zero friends and (in my pathetic mind) no hope of ever having any again.

I had gone through a divorce and moved to a new city, a new job, and a new church. I picked up and left everything familiar to me, including my friends, to start anew. Sometimes you just have to do that. I’ve discovered in my life that change IS good! Hard, but good.

I prayed and asked God to help me to make friends and He answered those prayers. He sent me women who accepted me as I am, with all my wounds and imperfections, with all my baggage and all my issues. What angels!!! Did they just drop into my life from the heavens? Of course not.

Over time, I became involved with the women in my new church and the women at my new job and made more friends than I could ever have imagined. Have I always been outgoing and easily made friends? No way! The prospect of entering a room of new people has always frightened me greatly(it still does). I have a history of being one to isolate myself and keep to myself in order to protect myself from rejection and pain. I had to consciously and repeatedly decide to get up, put my big girls pants on and engage in the life and world around me. I had to become involved even though I was afraid. Yes, I was rejected by some, but welcomed by so many more. I learned that everyone is not going to like you and not everyone has to be my friend. As Joyce Meyer says, “Do it afraid!” All I can say is, if you can muster the courage to put yourself out there, God will give you the strength to do it.

God has taught me many things in the last few years about having friends, being a friend, and making new friends. It takes work, time, and a certain degree of selflessness and patience. It takes a lot of LOVE, above everything else.

Here’s “How to Make Friends” 101. If you would just love people, they will be attracted to you. Does that sound too simple? It may, but I have found it to be true. Show your love for them through your actions. Go outside yourself, outside your life and care about someone else and their life.

Take a lesson from the best friend in the universe, Jesus. How do we know that Jesus loves us? He showed us through His death on the cross. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Making a friend doesn’t require your death…but a small action such as a kind word, a smile, or a thoughtful note is all it takes to start a beautiful friendship.

We can’t expect people to flock to us just because we’re fantastic girls! Stop thinking about yourself and how you have no friends and how no one invites you or includes you! The Bible says in Proverbs 18:24, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” YOU must show that you’re a friendly person by your ACTIONS! How else will people know how great you are?!?!
Now that we’ve decided on how to attract friends, we must also consider with whom to be friends with. Not everyone that you meet is going to be friend material. What?!?! Well, the Bible states some pretty clear and concise directions on who we, as Christians, should enter into friendship with.

Proverbs 12:26, “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

I’m not implying that we should become snobs, but use your God-given discernment when you meet a person and are getting to know them.

Proverbs 22:24 also says, “Make no friendship with an angry man.” I believe that verse is self-explanatory.

I have already talked about Jesus and His actions and following His example. But, you say, that He was friends with all kinds of people…good and bad. What about that? It is all about LOVE. Jesus loved all kinds of people. If you notice throughout the Word, the only people Jesus was really angry with or had a problem with were the “religious” people who had no love. In relationships with people who do not know Jesus like you know Him, you need to be the “influencer,” not the “influenced.” So, we ARE to love and develop relationships with people who are in the world in order to bring them to the knowledge of the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus!

Lately, I have been examining all my relationships with my “friends” in order to determine if I am being a good friend or vice versa. I was curious about the literal definition of the word “friendship.” I found it very interesting what Wikipedia had to say….
Friendship is a relationship between two people who hold mutual affection for each other..

The value of friendship is often the result of friends consistently demonstrating the following:

  • The tendency to desire what is best for the other
  • Sympathy and empathy
  • Honesty, even in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth
  • Mutual understanding and compassion; ability to go to each other for emotional support
  • Enjoyment of each other’s company
  • Trust in one another
  • Positively strong, deep, close reciprocity, mutuality — equal give-and-take between the two parties
  • The ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings and make mistakes without fear of judgment

These bullet points actually line up with what the Bible has to say about friends! Here are some examples:

Ecclesiastes 4:9
[ The Value of a Friend ] Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor.
Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times,
Proverbs 27:9
Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.
Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

I challenge you to examine your friendships…are they one-sided? Are you there for your friend when she’s in need, having an emotional crisis or family crisis? Or do you pretend to be too busy with your own life? Are you honest with your friend when something is bothering you? Or do you allow bitterness to grow between you? Do you trust your friend, can she trust you? Is there equal give-and-take between the two of you? For instance, do you monopolize the conversations that you have, never stopping to ask how her day was? Or does she always buy dinner and you never even offer? Is she afraid that if she makes a mistake or expresses her true feelings that you will react negatively by judging her or talking about her behind her back? No one likes to be stabbed in the back by a supposed friend.
A friend loves at ALL times…a friend is a sweetness that gives delight…it’s better to have a friend than to go at it alone…friends are for challenging each other to be a better person. I know a lot of women struggle with being real with one another without fearing rejection and being judged. Be a friend that can be trusted. Be a friend that can be real. I promise you, it is worth it. Put yourself out there. Be honest. Be friendly. Smile. Be happy. Love someone today. The reward is so great!!!!
Earthly friends are a wonderful blessing, but I want to spend a moment talking about being called a friend of God. How do we become His friend? By obeying His word, following His commands, by believing in God. We are no longer servants, but friends of God. I don’t know about you, but that makes me HAPPY! When I had no friends, He was my friend. Friend to the friendless. So, if you’re in transition, be glad that you have someone who already considers you His friend!
John 15:14
You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
John 15:15
No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
James 2:23
And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.

Thank you, Lord, for all the beautiful women you have placed in my life. Each one is special to me and I am grateful for every one of them. You are faithful! 🙂

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