"The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?"

- Psalms 27 : 1

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Notes } On Friendship.

The word I've heard all my life and had heard it thrown around so easily that I used to think it was one of the most easiest and natural things in life to get or attain. But as I advanced in years, I saw the mirage slowly disappear and realized that word - friendship - was shrouded by a thick cloud of mystery. The more I thought I got it the less I understood about it. The more I practiced this thing called "friendship" the more I realized I wasn't getting what I'd imagined out of it. So the more I went towards it, the more I wasn't actually obtaining it. Each time I would run towards it and grasp it wit my hands, it evaporated into thin air.
So my dilemma was this : I was getting into friendships but had nearly no friends. I didn't get it. When I realized this, I suddenly  felt as if someone had played a dirty trick on me. I was hearing about all the greatness of friendship and seeing those around me revel in it and I was getting none of that. I then start to wonder, did I get the equation wrong? A string of other questions follow before I started to ask, is it me? 

That was when I hit bottom.

Nothing else comes after questioning yourself. Nothing. Because you begin to question your very being. Then nothing makes sense from that point onwards.

Being pulled out of that cold, dirty and dark pit with the hands of grace, lowered by God Himself, I started to see things in different ways. Of course before getting to that view point, growth had preceded. Now looking down that mountain of challenges, hurts, pains, disappointments and rejection I began to realize friendship was not as easily gotten or attained as the world makes it to be.

I have some examples from the Bible but before going there, let me just say a few things I have learnt about friendship :

1. it is possible to be in a friendship with people that are not your friends

2. friends can do more harm than enemies

3. friends are for so many things in the is world excluding being there, listening and speaking the truth even when it hurts

4. many are surrounded by friends yet are still so lonely on the inside

Now defining friendship. According to the American Oxford dictionary, a friend isperson whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affectiontypically exclusive of sexual or family relations". That's the theory. That's what a friend should be. Now going deeper and making it more practical, what does the Bible say abut friendship? Proverbs 17:17 says, "A friend loves at all times,

    and a brother is born for a time of adversity". This tells us the core characteristics of a friend. A lover. No matter the circumstance or situation, a friend should be a lover. A lover doesn't mean one that cannot get angry with you, disrespect you sometimes or tell you something you don't want to hear but a lover is someone that will always love you no matter what you do or say to them. They will always com back to your side to hold your hand, to support you or pull you up. Now, you can say, but God wants us to love everyone anyway in this way. You are right. But you can love someone without them being your friend. the plus with friendship is this : you both share "a bond of mutual affection" as the American Oxford dictionary says. This means you have things in common, enjoy each other's company, think alike, have the same vision etc. A friend is someone that you know that no matter what happens, they will be there to support you. Of course, we are human and as humans have our limitations, we should old such weaknesses against others (or ourselves). Of course your friend could do something to let you down, but it's not about that it's about their attitude after it and where they stand with you after that mistake or mishap.

The second part of Proverbs 17:17 speaks about a brother. I believe here, the writer was still talking about friendship and was in fact revealing another characteristic of a friend. A friend is as good as family. That is, all he characteristics you can stick to family you should be able to stick to a friend...sort of makes you think. The latter part speaks about a friend being born for  time of adversity.  This gives us the second major characteristic of a friend: a friend always has your back. What does that mean? Well, I'll tell you what it doesn't mean, it doesn't mean joining you in doing the wrong thing but being there to help you when you find yourself living through challenges, or experiencing some painful situations. Having your back also means, speaking the painful truth even when this can cause an argument or a temporary separation. That's love. A friend should not be about sugar coating your life with lies and flattery but helping you be a stronger and better you.

Before concluding, let me give you an example of true friendship from the Bible : David and Jonathan. You can find their story from 1 Samuel 18 to the end of the book. 1 Samuel 18:1 says "
After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself". This verse always leaves me in complete awe. It confirms what we said about having "a bond of mutual affection" and the first major characteristic of a friend (a lover). Through the rest of their story, we see how they were each devoted to the other and selflessly considered the other. Jonathan always had David's back (1 Samuel 20) even risking his own very life before the king his father. A true love story. David rightly sums up the sweetness of friendship in his lament after Jonathan's death "I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women" (2 Samuel 1:26). Here David confirms what we said about a friend being like family and the first major characteristic of a friend once again. But he also tells us a bit about the sweetness of friendship. He compares it and puts it over the love of the opposite sex. 

I quite agree with David about the sweetness of friendship. Upon learning all these things about friendship, I realized a few things:

1. Many who call themselves friends are actually not friends because they do not have these characteristics we have listed above

2. The greed, selfishness, pride and jealousy hinder man from truly being true friends to each other. Most friendships always has a purpose for each party (something to be gained).

3. Many are dying inside because their "friends" are not living out their title. 

4. Many ladies go from guy to guy trying to fill something missing in them when really all they need is a true friend 

5. Sometimes you just click with someone without knowing why. Take advantage of it (Ref. David and Jonathan; 1 Samuel 18:1). I believe souls call out to souls. 

6. You don't have to move with the whole neighbourhood to feel like you have friends. In fact, it's okay to only have just a few. In all of David's account, he only had that ONE true friend. It's better to have that one true friend than a hundred false ones. 

7. Contrary to real friendship, false friendship only brings bitterness along the road and on the long run. If you find yourself in a friendship that is causing you more pain than giving you love, then it's time to rethink.

I'll stop here now. But before I press the full stop tab, let me just say that man has lost how to really love therefore building a real friendship is a very difficult task and those that succeed only come close, that is, without God. God is love and it is only from Him that we learn to love (ourselves and others). It is only Him that can turn our hearts of stone to hearts of flesh and breath true & complete love into us and help us to love. I guess the root of it all is love.  

Before I go, I'd like to thank God for giving me the grace to find my Jonathan in my very own baby sister. A gem given to stud my life. 
I love you!

Who's your Jonathan?

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