In one of my nicer statements I told the Pharisaical saint, “Sir, I don’t care whether he deserves what he is going through or not, if Romans 8:28 is true, and it is, then this is working together with other events and people for good. So if you want to pray, join in. If not, then go into another room and pray with yourself, as did one of your stripe in Luke 18:11, “prayed thus with himself…”
I wrote a book about lasting friendships and it touched many hearts. The book was not designed to teach how to get people to like you, but rather how to be a friend and build lasting friendships through being a friend who, in the biblical sense, loveth at all times.
Earlier in the day I read a blurb on Facebook which stated, “I asked God to protect me from my enemies and I started losing friends!” After a brief chuckle you realize the truth of the statement. False friendship is just that, false, and false friendship will not stand the test of trial and time.
Solomon said it well in Proverbs 18:24, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” The question arises, How do I demonstrate true friendship? Many clichés give good advice on this subject such as “A friend walks in when the world walks out.” I know of no verses in scripture that give instruction of what folks should do to get friendship, but many that instruct what you are to do if you count a person as a friend. The above verse from Solomon is a case in point, “stick by your friends in their time of darkness.”
The Internet posited the other day, “Don’t depend too much on anyone in the world. Even your shadow leaves you when you’re in darkness.” To be a friend you must be the one who walks in when the world walks out. In all likelihood each one who reads this brief piece has a person you call friend right now sitting in some darkness without even his or her shadow to comfort them. The possibility of a friend sitting alone, without even their shadow, is a call from God to get with it. The song writer wrote concerning Jesus, “I was near to despair when He came to me there and told me that I could be free. Then he lifted my feet gave me gladness complete when He reached down His hand for me.”
When we are betrayed by someone we call “friend” we must as did Christ with Peter, await the opportunity to have a time of talking things out and reconcile as soon and as gently as possible. John records the story so graphically in John 21. Peter came to the shore and ate fried fish for breakfast and entered into conversation as though nothing had happened in Pilate’s Hall. Yet Jesus subtly involved Peter in conversation to lead him to an understanding of why he was weak under the pressure of the Roman and Priestly guard that were interrogating Jesus. The why of Peter’s angrily telling the maid, “I don’t know Him!” His rushing out of the hall into the darkness of the night was not put on the table. Jesus pointed out that such behavior is symptomatic of a lack of intense, selfless love, agape that forgets about self and totally focuses on the benefit of the one loved.
Most of the problems we have with friends are due to a lack of biblical love by one or both parties. Certainly reconciling in the manner demonstrated by Jesus requires true love of the 1Corinthians 13 kind. It is important to note that Jesus never brought up the instant case, of Peter’s denial. He knew that Peter now understood love is the required commitment in all friendships. Certainly this is true in marriage and family bonds. Randy Travis used to sing a song about all the negativity associated with “Digging up Bones.” Jesus simply went directly to the preventive solution.
Andrew Jackson’s mother gave the following advice to him: “In this world, you will have to make your own way. To do that, you must have friends. You can make friends by being honest, and you can keep them by being steadfast… To forget an obligation, or be ungrateful for a kindness, is a base crime”
Copyright © 2014 Larry Lilly.
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