It’s a beautiful thing. I’m so glad that God is the god of relationships. It’s so amazing how friendships form. There’s the initial stages where two or more people meet–perhaps a little guarded at first; apprehensive to share any flaws, yet quick to boast in accomplishments.
Through more conversation there’s the realization there’s more in common than originally thought. It becomes easier to shed any barriers that were evident in the initial stages trading those barriers for more open conversation.
Over time–after adding each other on Facebook–they begin to hang out and set up times to meet and talk. Eventually, this comrade became a really good friend. Might even say: best friend, aka, the BFFL.
By the time the BFFL stage is reached, the comrades know almost everything about each other including each others’ flaws and weaknesses. They know how to get under each others’ skins and how to poke fun. Sometimes this knowledge was used to their advantage.
In the beginning, it was all a bed of roses. Our best friend was the greatest thing in the world
who could do no wrong. But for some reason we feel the need to treat them like a rag doll.
Why is it that the more we love someone, the more we hate?
I have realized that the closer I get to people, the easier it is for me to mistreat them. Not physically, but verbally. Think about a time when you may have taken out your feelings on a good friend or sarcastically made fun of them in jest. Why do we do this?
Maybe it’s the comfort in knowing that they will still love us and accept us even when we call them stupid names or take advantage of their time. I really don’t know, but I do know that it’s a backward principle and one in which Jesus is totally against.
In watching Jesus’ life, we see how the more he got to know his disciples, the more he loved them. There were times when he chastised them for wanting to pull out swords and cut off people’s ears (Peter) or times he rebuked them for not having enough faith. But he loved them.
He never took advantage of their weaknesses or held their sin over their heads. So, why do we do it?
Personally, I think we all have this need to be protected. It all comes down to thinking about ourselves first, then others, which is another principle Jesus was against and Paul echoes in Philippians 2:3-4. I have to apologize to all of my friends for all of the times that I hated on them instead of loving them. I’m sorry.
We’ve all done it, though. We’ve been so heavily influenced by the culture of this world that it’s so easy for us to think of ourselves before we think of other people. It’s so easy to forget that friends aren’t verbal or emotional punching bags.
I know that sometimes we just get tired of doing the right thing, but when that does start to happen, it’s time to separate ourselves and bring our concerns to the Father first, before we do our friends.
It’s good to know the flaws and weaknesses of our friends and loved ones because in times when they really need open rebuke and to be chastised, we’re the most likely to be real with them than anyone else.
Friendship really is a gift. Just like any gift, someone had to pay for it. Friendship isn’t free, it costs. Sometimes it means staying and talking to your BFFL or that kid in your class a little longer than you wanted to; sometimes in means getting in his or her face about that situation they keep complaining to you about. But it doesn’t mean mistreating them.
Today, try loving on your friends instead of using them as a coat rack to hang all of our emotional baggage.
Jesus, the ultimate friend puts it this way: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Think about your friendships. Are you content with where they’re at?