Friendships change through the years, but real friendships are built on the same kind of love that Christ showed us.
Thomas C. Spiegelberg II
“That was last month? Are you sure, Jen?”
“Yes, the best man in our wedding—and supposedly your best friend—has his birthday every year on the same day: April 18.”
“What day is it now?”
“It’s May 18.”
I am really a bad friend.
Summertime is a great time for friendships, whether it is visiting someone you haven’t seen for years or meeting the new buddies you discovered at camp. Summer always flows a little sweeter with a good friend.
The Lord speaks a lot about friendship in the Bible. It’s not surprising that the hymn writer of “What a friend we have in Jesus” spoke of Jesus as a friend. But Jesus is not just an example of a good friend. He’s much more than that. He gave up his life while we were still sinners, before we could claim him as a friend (Romans 5:8). He showed that true deep love for others. We are justified by his blood, and his sacrifice awakens us to love others.
But we’re so bad at friendships sometimes. We are far from perfect when it comes to human relationships. And our friendships change over the years. Interests shared with others fade. I stopped my subscription to Corvette Monthly when I was in eighth grade. I rarely talk to any of my buddies who used to read it with me during morning recess.
Memorable experiences are replaced by other equally memorable times. I have a picture of a camping trip from 1989. I can’t even remember everyone in the picture. At the time, though, I probably would have asked them all to be in my wedding.
Friends we thought were cool when they were seniors in high school because they had a tape deck in their 1980 Plymouth Volare and knew every word to every top 10 song don’t seem to be as cool as we once thought. We no longer look cool when we sing old top 10 songs to our kids.
Friendship is built on more than shared experiences or interests. Friends are certainly more than what we can get from them if we hang around them long enough. The book of Proverbs reminds us that friendship is built on the same kind of love that Christ showed us: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity” (17:17).
Corinthians chapter 13, which we probably all will hear at one wedding or another this summer, was not talking about the love of a husband or wife when it said, “Love never fails.” It was talking about love between one another.
So try these five things to celebrate real friendship based on the love of Christ:
1. Talk to your Lord tonight. Ask him to help you be a better friend.
2. Pick a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Drop him a note or a WhatsApp message quoting Proverbs 17:17 or send him a copy of this article.
3. Do something for one of your friends that is completely unselfish.
4. Talk to your children or grandchildren about what a true friend really is.
5. Send the best man in your wedding a birthday card, even if it’s late.
I admit that I’m a bad friend, but I have a Good Friend. And he keeps me close to my earthly friends.
And by the way, to the best man in my wedding, your card is in the mail.
Thomas Spiegelberg is pastor at Trinity, Castries, St. Lucia, West Indies.
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Author: Thomas C. Spiegelberg II
Volume 102, Number 08
Issue: August 2015
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