LEARNING TO BE A FRIEND
We are well-acquainted and familiar with many people, but what about true friendship? It is useless to speak of the great gift of friendship unless we make clear what we mean by a friend. We make connections and acquaintances and call them friends, but how many are true friendships?
We must move beyond being friendly to becoming friends. This is what the Lord dealt with in John chapter fifteen. Notice where He placed the emphasis when He introduced this matter of friendship to His disciples. We need to place emphasis on these same things.
Our children need to learn the lessons of true friendship. There is a certain risk that friendship brings. If you love, you are going to be hurt. You can protect yourself and never be hurt, but never love. If you are going to know friendship, you are going to suffer and be hurt. If you do not have friendship, you are going to miss much of what God intended in this journey of life. We make this journey once, and one of the things that makes it so precious is friendship.
Young people need to learn how to be friends. Our newspapers reported recently that surveys show that we are living in a period in history when there are more people dissatisfied with life than at any other time in the history of the world. This generation seems almost void of true friendship.
It is possible to be so very lonely in the midst of a multitude of people. Most people would be willing to give a fortune in exchange for a true friend. A friendless man is the loneliest person on earth.
The Lord Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” The Lord Jesus desires for us to have full joy. Are you a joyous person? Do you share His joy with other people?
I have said to my wife, “Pray for me. I know there are things I need to stand against and be critical of, but I need to be a more joyous person.” I do not receive that joy from circumstances. It comes only from the Lord Jesus.
Our Lord does not equate our behavior with our worth.“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” He loves us unconditionally. No matter what we look like or act like, He loves us. Most seek the people who are considered valuable to us; those who can help us achieve. That is not the Lord’s way. He leads us to understand the connection between compassion and friendship. Friendship is never something we demand of another human being. It comes to us as a gift, and it must be cultivated in lovingkindness.