Monday, February 25, 2013

Lent Day 11: Best friends

What a happy day! Brides post their wedding pictures on FB after celebrating a princess day. Guys are usually slower to admit they had a great day; their friends also don't tag as many pictures. But you can see the expectation on the couple's faces. They have married their best friend and hope every day is as happy as their first together as wife and husband.

I have single friends who live with their good friends. When one or more of the gals (or guys) finds a mate or moves away, the person/s reconfigure their lives and living space. It's a mobile and shifting world out there for singles. But some remain best friends with former roommates, colleagues, and childhood acquaintances, through thick and thin.

Pastor Don Ross (Creekside Church, Shoreline) talked this weekend about the traits of good friends. (Well worth a listen: click here in a few days.) He said these three things - when reciprocated between friends - were good indicators of the quality of friendship:
  1. Friends are consistent and dependable. 
  2. They're honest and trustworthy.
  3. They are willing to tell the whole truth, even if that may hurt their friendship ... because they care enough to tell the "last 10%" of difficult truth toward the maturity and wholeness of their friend.
I thought about the people I value most as friends. Even if I shock them with ideas or plans, they give me good feedback. They like me enough to be unwilling for me to move ahead without thinking things through. They bolster me because they know my gifts. They walk alongside to question me and cheer me on. I do the same for them, though it's not always easy.

The most challenging friendship-relationship may be with those closest to you. How about your spouse, the person who never leaves? S/he moves into your bedroom and becomes a neat freak so you have to clean up ... or is a total clutter-bug who messes up your space. You share the bathroom, the kitchen, and the living space with his or her expectations, hauled into your home from their past. Even after decades, s/he surprises you with good and awful truths about her/himself and you.

Sometimes we struggle emotionally when dealing with elderly friends or parents who need our care. Medication and aging may redefine their personalities and bring out the best (or the worst) in them. Are we still loving and kind? Good friends?

How do we negotiate the variety of friendships we encounter?

Our best friend - Jesus - is consistent, honest, and has our best interests at heart. That security helps us accept friendship, given, received, and shared.

Jesus' inner circle included those who knew who he was. And it included the man who betrayed him to his enemies. Jesus' extended circle of male and female friends benefited from his wisdom and insight. These people cried at his awful death. Rejoiced at his supernatural resurrection. He was a true friend to them all, offering grace, second chances, and his loving kindness without reservation.

I'd love to be that kind of person to my friends. Many of them are that to me. Thank you, friends!

Read more:
*The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1

*And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 35:8-10 NIV

*He guarded his people as the apple of his eye. Deuteronomy 32:10

*Christ says, "You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit.” John 15:16

Moravian Prayer: Why did you choose us, O Lord? What can we possibly do for you? Show us the place you have for us in your church, so we can together bear much good fruit to your glory. Amen.

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