“Keep smilin’, keep shinin’
Knowing you can always count on me for sure. That’s what friends are for.
For good times and bad times, I’ll be on your side forever more. That’s what friends are for.”
That IS what friends are for, to be there through every high and low, supporting, encouraging, and loving you. However, as friends in Christ, we are called to do much more.
My friendships have been heavy on my heart lately. I want my friends to feel loved and cared for, supported, uplifted, and encouraged. I want to be dependable, honest, and loyal, and I want my friends to be the same.
This prompted me to dig into the Word and take a look at Jesus’s friendships with His disciples, Lazarus, Mary & Martha. Jesus made them all feel so loved, always forgave, and was always honest…just as He is with us today. Ultimately, I want to be the kind of friend that Jesus was:
- He was intentional.
Jesus probably wouldn’t have been texting at dinner with Lazarus. He would have listened with full focus on what he was saying. He would have been so very careful and intentional with His responses, thinking about every word before it left His lips. Jesus tended to each and every one of His friends, seeking them out and making them feel loved individually. Make an effort, get intentional.
- He served.
Jesus washed His disciples feet, people. He insisted on washing these grown men’s filthy, dirty feet and says, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:14
I’m sure Jesus didn’t mean for us grab a bucket of suds and get to scrubbing between our friends toes…although I’m sure He wouldn’t object either, but He calls us to serve and sacrifice for others. Write a short note or make their favorite treat, let them choose where dinner is. Simple acts of service show Who you serve.
- He was forgiving.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
Need I say more? Jesus has forgiven every single sin you have repented for up until now…as a friend we should offer forgiveness always. We are all faulty, we all fall short, and we all need grace. Jesus forgives, so should we. Period.
- He was supportive.
Jesus supports, encourages and builds up His disciples. As He prepares to leave He says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me,” and later tells His disciples, “Take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 14, 16
Wow, talk about encouragement! As friends we should support and build up our friends with words of truth and life…this brings me to the next point.
- He was honest.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Proverbs 27:5
Jesus handed out tough love and let’s face it, we all need it. When Jesus went to visit Mary and Martha, Martha was busy frantically making preparations and playing hostess while Mary sat at Jesus’s feet. He gets honest with Martha and says, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10
He is honest because He loves Martha and wants her to grow in her faith. It’s not easy dishing out tough love, but God calls us to be iron that sharpens iron.
I pray that as I friend I am intentional and uplifting, forgiving and encouraging. I pray that I have courage to be honest when necessary and take honesty with grace.
I pray that my friendships would reflect Jesus and His love for us. THAT is what true friends are for.