At the beginning of each month, I send a brief, newsy email update to a select group of readers. May’s monthly newsletter (sent last week) included the below post, an extension of May 7th’s blog post, Grace: The Glory of Friendship. I thought you might enjoy it, too. By the way, if you want to receive the monthly email newsletter, OR if you want to have these blog posts delivered directly to your inbox, use the blue subscribe button on the left.
In a world absent of stability, we crave loyalty. We long for friends who prove steadfast and unwavering, over countless years and complicated circumstances. Regardless of how impossible its tasks, today becomes bearable—enjoyable!—when buoyed by the presence of faithful others.
But I wonder if our desire for it is equalled by the desire to offer it?
Even more than our longing to receive friendship, we must be people determined to be friendship. We need to be the friend who faithfully cheers on the weary, encourages the discouraged, ignites the disenheartened. We need to be friends who see the potential beyond the mess, who maintain the capacity to believe in spite of evidence to the contrary. We must be the friend who celebrates another’s joy without harboring envy, and weathers a struggle without growing faint.
How? As it turns out, the One who spoke to Moses “face to face, as a man speaks with his friend” (Ex. 33:11) knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a true friend:
- Serve—not ministries or organizations, but individuals (Galatians 5:13)
- Choose words that build, strengthen. (Ephesians 4:29)
- Avoid complaining. It dulls your shine. (Philippians 2:14-15)
- Listen. Listen! (James 1:19)
- Err on the side of mercy. (Matthew 5:7, James 2:13)
- Give forgiveness away as if you have more of it than you could possibly need. You do. (Ephesians 4:32)
- Look past the stink of fish to see the potential disciple. (Matthew 4:18-20)
- Cling to people, not offenses. (Luke 6:37-38, 1 Peter 4:8)
- Do more than say “I love you.” Live “I love you.” (Ephesians 5:2, 1 John 3:18)
- Need a boost? Send someone a card. Want company? Find someone who’s alone. Give away what you wish for. (Matthew 7:12)
- Hang out with the sick and messy. Not the healthy and clean. (Matthew 9:12-13)
- Celebrate homecomings! (Luke 15:20)
- Pour courage into places of fear. (Matthew 14:27)
- Bandage the wounded. Comfort the abused. (Matthew 11:28-30, Luke 10:25-37)
- Make your presence a place of quiet, a place of rest. (Mark 6:31)
- Be an advocate for the weak. (Mark 9:42)
- Speak peace. (Luke 24:36)
Friendship—community—is a place where God’s glory dwells. How can you be friendship to someone today?