A moment for reflection:
by Morag Cameron
Friendship is universally desired but can be surprisingly hard.
“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
― Elbert Hubbard
Friendships are important to God because of the tremendous influence they hold over our lives. We often make many decisions based on the advice we get from a friend and through friendship we can significantly impact the lives of others therefore it is good to follow God’s guidance in establishing friendships.
Every Christian is instructed to “be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s useand prepared unto every good work.
. . follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart”
(2 Timothy 2:22).
The Bible describes the friendship between David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 18:1 ‘Jonathan and David became bound together in close friendship. Jonathan loved David as much as he did his own life." The affection, loyalty and sacrifice between these two men is explained clearly to us. For the sake of his friend, Jonathan plotted behind and rebuked his father, King Saul. Jonathan and David’s bond was thicker than blood.
Four levels of friendship can be defined : acquaintance, casual friendship, close friendship (fellowship) and intimate friendship.
Acquaintance is defined by occasional contact with someone.
Casual Friendship can develop quickly, even during initial contact with an individual as during conversation common interests, activities and concerns emerge.
Close Friendship (Fellowship) reflects oneness of spirit and this type of fellowship requires both people to share the same life goals. The Bible instructs us to “consider [observe fully] one another to provoke [incite] unto love and to good works” (Hebrews 10:24).
Intimate friendship is the fourth and deepest level of friendship and should be based on a commitment to generously invest in one another’s lives with the goal of helping each other mature in Godly character. Honesty, humility and discretion are requirements of an intimate friendship. We should comfort one another through trials and sorrows and pray diligently for one another. At this level, friends have freedom to correct one another and point out each other’s blind spots though we shouldn’t simply point out character deficiencies but be willing to help discern their causes and suggest solutions by searching the Scriptures for keys to solutions.
Close friends know us well but these friends know our dreams and drawbacks and they stay and love us anyway.
Close friends show up - sometimes in person, or with phone calls, texts or letters. Regardless of the separation created by time, distance and global pandemics they’re ready to help when we need them.
Close friends pray for us and ask God for our protection, health and success.
Close friends speak truth into our life. It’s hard not to be completely overwhelmed by God’s kindness in planting such friends in our life. God’s mercy and grace are continually evident in the ways they love and encourage us, our faith is stronger because of their influence in our life.
Likewise, we are devoted to them, their burdens weigh heavily on us and their successes are genuinely celebrated.
This is not to say that a friendship will ever be perfect. We are not immune from doing selfish or envious things and that’s when our close friend will help put us back on the right path with a gentle (or otherwise) nudge.
The difference in these close relationships is that we recognise they are worth fighting to nurture and fighting to save. They are worth the hard work, the apologies, the rebuilding and the sacrifice.
Lord, thank You for being the best friend to every one of us. May we each be and have intentional and loyal friends in our life who offer support to us and encourage us when we need it. Help us value each person You place in our life and be ready and willing to share Your word with them if the opportunity arises.