The three common denominators of meaningful friendship
BFF. Best Friends Forever. These three words conjure up an image of connectedness and loyalty that any one of us would want to be a part of. Sadly, it is an image that for many will only ever remain a thought and never become a tangible reality. Why is that? Why are so many of us on the outside looking in when it comes to true and profound friendship? At least one set of problems may begin with the way our social environment is structured. Social media actually teaches us to be acquainted at a distance, to be engaged without actual interaction and to be friends by clicking, posting, following or sharing – all done as we gaze into that little electronic screen. True friendship requires so much more...and true friendship returns so much more. Let’s look at some ways we can give and receive friendship – the old-fashioned way – person to person. It just might make your life better!
One of the first places to start is with Jesus as our friend. He actually called his followers his friends the night before his crucifixion. While friendship with Jesus is comforting and even inspiring it is also, well, different. Think about it – Jesus is a friend we don’t see or converse with. He is a friend who has basically told us all of the guidelines for being in his inner circle. He is above us. We follow him. Yet, his friendship loyalty and example often carry us through difficult times. He is a true friend!
What about regular friends? People we see and like and hang out with? Most of us have some kind of group we consider our friends. The problem is most of us do not consider many of this group to be our good - really good - friends. So, what is missing? Intimacy. Now let’s get this straight right from the start - describing an association as having intimacy is NOT limited to describing two people in a sexual relationship. Please, let’s think in a broader and frankly more mature way. To be intimate with a friend is to be able to rely on them in your deepest and darkest experiences. It is to be vulnerable, honest and loyal. It is the sharing of all that is good as well as all that is difficult. Intimacy among friends is profoundly valuable and it is also rare, so how do we find it?
One way the Bible reveals this intimacy is by describing those who co-labor. Co-laborers are vastly more connected than those who simply cooperate and the Scriptures are full of examples of this deeper step towards intimacy. Helen Keller said, “I would rather walk in the dark with a friend than walk alone in the light.” We all yearn for that kind of powerful and lasting influence in our lives.
Check out our September 10, 2018 podcast, “What Does True Friendship Look Like?” We talk about the three absolutely necessary ingredients that must be part of any truly close friendship. These three things give us a sturdy foundation for friendship, a method for maintaining that association over the long term and the glue that holds it together through the most severe storms. True friends...don’t leave home without them!
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