I can not believe this is our last installment! What a great twelve weeks to have you along for this Fall Back Into Faith series as we looked at Faith, Family, Fortune and Fun. It’s been helpful for me to study these pieces, and it energizes me about the next bible study that will kick off in January looking at what God calls us.
This last installment on Fun focuses on friends. What a note to go out on! I love my girlfriends, and God loves for us to form deep and abiding friendships. I write about friendships pretty often - I have a best friend and mom friends and working friends and spiritual friends and just happy circumstance friends. The great thing about female friendships is that it deepens and enriches our lives – it gives us emotional support we might not get from our husbands and venting support that we couldn’t get at work and even just decompressing support over a shared dessert and glass of wine.
We know though that even the best designed relationship can have challenges. Sometimes selecting the right relationships and people to share your deepest feelings with can even be confusing. I am a fan of having all kinds of friendships with all variety of people, but if you are frequently with a negative person, a gossip, or a person encouraging your bad behavior, it only leads to pulling you further away from the path God has for you.
Deuteronomy 13 cautions us, “If your very own brother…or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to them or listen to them. “ Proverbs 12 tells us that, “The righteous choose their friends carefully.”
But what I love most about the Bible is it recognizes how friendships rock. One of the first scripture I ever memorized was, “A friend loves at all times.” (Proverbs 17) The very next chapter says, “there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” There is even a shocking passage in the Old Testament where the woman goes out to mourn what will be her loss of life before it occurs – she takes her friends to the hills with her for two months to mourn together. She doesn’t take her family, she takes her girlfriends to shoulder this devastating news with her. (Judges 11)
The real take-away today though is that you have to be a good friend to have good friendships. All the wisdom you put into choosing who you grow close to will do you no good if you are not a good friend in return. I am so grateful for the amazing women God has brought into my life, and I am constantly checking myself to make sure that I am giving as much as I am receiving in those relationships. Whoever fosters love covers over an offense, Proverbs says in a discussion on friendship. Second to the skin and bones family we have here on Earth, our friendships are the closest we get to Heaven. I feel like some of my girlfriends truly are the sisters I never had.
I can’t imagine any better words on friendship than those that Jesus spoke during His time here on Earth:
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command.