Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Importance of Friendship

I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,

Think about the following two points as you ponder these quotes about friendship.

1) Jesus calls you his friend.

2) God often comes to you through the love of the friends that He places into your life.  Try to call these people to mind.  Who is your best friend?  Who are the closest friends that God has placed into your life? 

Some quotes on friendship:

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jesus believes in you and is willing to trust you with His friendship.

There are others too, that believe in you and are willing to trust you with their friendship.  Who are these friends in your life? 

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another,
'What! You too? I thought I was the only one"
-C.S. Lewis quotes

The whole reason Jesus came to earth and took on flesh was so that he could experience everything that we do.  Jesus shares in our sufferings so that we realize we aren't the only one.  

Often these experiences bond us to others as friends as well.  Think of the times when you became friends with someone because you had something in common. 

 "The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing... not healing, not curing... that is a friend who cares."
-Henri Nouwen

Jesus, above all is present with us.  

Sometimes the best friends don't fix our problems or fix us, but just love us, accept us, and above all simply be with us.

"Our happiness, our destiny is to discover the God of love whom we find and continually rediscover in others who reflect and embody His love.  One Christ loving himself. All of us are frail and fickle apart from the power and dignity God invests in them and us.  Should we be tempted to displace or forget God's love, may we always find Him coming to us in friends who love us.  Human warmth, friendship and affection open us up so we can grasp the God of beauty and fire that lies beyond them.  They teach us GOD in words and signs our humanity can understand.  The Spirit takes us from there."
-St. Augustine:  Confessions part IV section 4

Jesus realizes your weaknesses and desires nothing more than to be your friend.   Have you ever been tempted to forget God’s Love?   

God also places people into our lives to experience this warmth and affection of human love and friendship.  These people help us remember the love of God when we feel unlovable.  These friends remind us of who we are and whose we are.  It is these friendships that become an icon that leads us right to the heart of Jesus and the Father.  Who are the friends in life that have taught you about the love of God? 

There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I
have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature."
-- Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Jesus doesn’t love us half way... he as the best of friends lay down his life for us.  Think about this.  He gave himself over to betrayal, suffering, and even death for you.  You have a friend that loves you so much he died for YOU.  True friends lay down their lives for the other.

Many friends have done this for you over the years and will continue to.  Can you think of friends that have sacrificed for you? 

"A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow."
-- William Shakespeare

Jesus knows you inside and out.  He knows you not only from the time of your conception but before you were born he had a plan for you.  Even now Jesus befriends you, loves you, and accepts you even in your sin.  He also gently allows you the freedom to grow. 

Good friends do this too.  A good friend is someone who we hide nothing from.  They know everything about us.  They know our goodness and our strength.  They also know our weaknesses and our struggles.  They understand us, accept us, and allow us to grow.  Who is the most accepting friend that you have? 

"I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light."
-- Helen Keller

Jesus descended into Hell that he might be with us through any darkness.  It is sheer grace when we come to the point that we would rather walk through any darkness any hell with Jesus than experience any consolation without him.  The Spanish Mystic, St. Teresa of Avila, confirms this very strongly as she ascended into the heights of prayer. 

Helen Keller was taught to read, speak, and write by a friend.  This friend walked with her in the darkness and because of her blindness she came to know the value of friendship.  When we have known the richness of friendship we would much rather go through difficult times with good friends than experience good times without any friendship.  Who is the one friend that you could count on to walk through a dark time with? 

"Why did you do all this for me?" he asked. "I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.'
You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing."
-- E.B. White, Charlotte's Web

This is the love that we can feel for Jesus.  Completely undeserving of the love and the friendship that He offers to us.  Yet, above all, He is just delighted that we accept His friendship.  That in itself is a tremendous thing! 

We come to realize that we can never earn good friends.  A good friendship, though it can be worked at and nurtured, is ultimately a gift.  Think about the friends in your life… especially the ones who have done and given you so much unexpectantly.  Above all what is most important is just having someone to whom we can say:  “You have been my friend.” Is there someone whose friendship you don’t feel deserving of? 

"In friendship...we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years' difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another...the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting—any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends, "Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another." The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others."
-- C.S. Lewis

Jesus, in His great province has chosen us for some great purpose at this particular time. 

Can you think of any friends that God placed in your life for a purpose or a reason?  These friends did not come by chance, they were not so much chosen by us, but placed into our lives.  Can you see the providence of God in your friendships? 

"But it does not seem that I can trust anyone,' said Frodo.
Sam looked at him unhappily. 'It all depends on what you want,' put in
Merry. 'You can trust us to stick with you through thick and thin—to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours--closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo."
-- J.R.R. Tolkien

Jesus loves us so much that he has and will walk through any valley with us.  He also promises us that He will never leave us orphans, never abandon us, never give up on us and never fail us.  He really is a trustworthy friend. 

Think about the friends in your life who have been there for you during difficult times.  True friends are ones that we can confide any secret in and know that secret will be kept safe.  Friends also know when they need to “not listen” to us and go with us even when we try to push them away.    Can you think of any friends who love you enough to challenge you or reach out to you when you push them away or try to “go it alone”? 

"I wonder what Piglet is doing," thought Pooh.
"I wish I were there to be doing it, too."
-- A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Think of Jesus saying this about you!  “I wonder what _______ is doing,” thinks Jesus.  “I wish I were doing it, too.”  Jesus wants to be a part of EVERYTHING that you do.  There is nothing that he doesn’t want to be a part of, even the sin, even the shame… He wants to be with you through the good times and the bad.  Do you allow Him to be with you in the joys of Life?  Do you allow Him to be with you even in your sin?  Do you realize that He wants to be with you through all the mundane, all the wonder, He wants you to share everything with Him.    DO You? 

Can we see in all these quotes the great blessing of friendship?  Isn’t it wonderful that the God of the Universe desires to be your friend?  Jesus desires to be your personal intimate companion in life.  He wants to be with you through it all.  He just loves and delights in being involved in whatever it is that you are doing.  Is there any part of your life that you could allow him to be a greater part of? 

Finally, realize that friendship is so necessary for salvation as well.  God places good friends into our lives to allow us to experience in a very human way His divine friendship.  Who are the people in your life that most radiate this wonderful friendship?  Are there any people in your life that you would like to spend more time with?  Are there any friends that you would like to know more and be known by more fully? 

Remember that Jesus calls us friends and He also places others into our lives to show us what friendship really is and can be.  Treasure these friends because a good friend is God blessing us with His friendship. 

1 comment:

  1. Sir,

    I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to post these quotes and thoughts. They were very heartwarming and served as a wonderful reminder of God's blessings.

    Best to you.


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