Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

Becoming a Good Friend

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“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Eccl. 4:9-10)

Everyone needs a friend. Friendship is a valuable thing. It is something that cannot be purchased, but must be earned. A friend is someone who can be trusted. A friend gives true advice (Prov. 27:6, 9). In order for trust to develop we must spend time building relationships. Trusts involves vulnerability. We must be willing to open ourselves up to someone who has proven trustworthy. A friend is there for you in good times and in bad (Prov. 17:17). A friend is someone who loves you by seeking your best interest. The greatest love one friend can have for another is sacrificial. This is the kind of love Jesus had for us and he calls us to have this same love for each other (John 15:12-13).

We all want friends, but how does one go about making friendships? It begins with us, not others. If we want friends we should not sit around feeling sorry for ourselves because we have none, but instead we should be a friend first. We should take the first step. We should invite someone out to eat. We should pick up the phone and make a call. Friendships are not created overnight. They take time. Once we have made the first move, we must then prove ourselves trustworthy. There are certain characteristics that will destroy a friendship. Anger or a short temper is not something that fosters lasting friendships (Prov. 22:24-25). The author of Proverbs informs us that “gossip separates the best of friends” (Prov. 16:28). The psalmist warns about “taking up a reproach against a friend” (Psalm 15:3). We are not to be accusatory toward our friends. Instead, we should seek to encourage others. No one wants to spend time with someone who is constantly finding fault with people. As Christians we seek to lift each other up, not bring them down.

The idea of sacrificial friendship that Jesus calls us to means that we must constantly be contributing to the friendships we have created. True friendship must be an endless cycle of give and take. We do for others and we allow others to do for us. If we are unwilling to give or receive, then our friendship will become out of balance and it will likely not last. This begins in our conversations with one another. We must both talk and listen. If we notice we are doing all the talking in a conversation, then we are not being a good friend. We must learn to listen. We must learn to ask questions. This give and take should continue in other areas as well. Someone who always takes, but never learns to give is a burden on others. A healthy balance of give and take will lead to a lasting friendship.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13)

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