Thanks for joining me as we set out to explore the topic of friendship, starting with Tuesday’s “Introduction” to the series. Make sure to visit my homepage and subscribe for future posts via email so that you don’t miss a moment!
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What is friendship? Friendship is a phone call and email, a coffee date and play date, a birthday party and moving party. It’s a touchstone along our busy lives, something to break up the mundane. But it’s more than an event, more than another appointment to keep.
True friendship is a steady connection- of our schedules, our lives, our hearts. It’s finding that we are of the same spirit and pursuing togetherness.
I am in grade-school when it comes to the topic of togetherness. But it seems to me that true togetherness, true friendship, requires a few things:
1. Choosing. In a world filled with hundreds of potential friendships, we must say no to many friendships in order to properly invest in a few friendships. Haven’t we had enough of the ever-widening but never-deepening circle of “friends”? This might feel hard to bear but joy is found in the narrowing.
2. Christ. True friendship is healthy. Otherwise it is not friendship; it is codependency. And the only way to be healthy is first to have Christ heal our depraved, craving, broken hearts. Then we can properly meet our friends- not with strangling, unrealistic demands, but with hearts ready to share in life’s joys and sorrows together.
3. Understanding the spectrum of relationship. There are many different levels of relationship- the most distant being strangers and the most intimate being marriage partners. Every other relationship we’ll ever have falls somewhere along this spectrum. Billions of people are strangers to us, perhaps a couple hundred are distant acquaintances, a hundred are casual acquaintances, fifty or so we might term “friends”, a dozen are close friends, and maybe 2 or 3 are intimate friends. It’s ok if not everyone makes the 2-3 intimate or dozen close friends cut. Some people are just acquaintances and that’s alright. Again, this comes down to choosing less so that our choices can go deeper. Also, it’s important to note that an individual relationship may shift along the spectrum throughout various seasons of life.
4. Understanding the cost of friendship. Friendship is a tremendous blessing. It’s like a warm mug of honeyed-tea, bringing sweetness to our lives. A gift. But this gift is two-dimensional. It requires something from us:
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (New King James Version, John 15:12-13)
Real friendship is sacrificial. It requires the sacrifice of our pride, our time, our wants, our “right” to be offended, and so much more. It requires the very laying down of our lives- just as Christ laid down His life for us.
These marks of friendship are by no means exhaustive. But they’re a start. Stay tuned for next time’s post when we focus on the origin of friendship. Until then!