A Case for Friendship
Read: 1 Corinthians 13, Colossians 3:12-14, Proverbs 18:24
We can all think back to that friend from our treehouse days that we swore to be best friends with forever. While we had no concept of forever or the amount of commitment this promise would require, there was this seemingly innate desire inside us to be together for as long as our little minds could possibly comprehend. It's the sleepless sleepovers, the continuous conversations, the song that's on repeat all night long. Even when we were young, we could tell that we had found something good, and we never wanted to let it go. But what do we do when the moment ends, when the challenge hits, when the hurt comes? While there's no one-size-fits-all answer, my young mind had decided there was such an answer. That answer was distance. I saw distance as a protector and a punisher. Defensively, distance helped me avoid conflict and suppress my feelings. Offensively, I used distance to help me in my efforts to make others feel just as terrible and helpless as I did. My choice of distance has cost me a lot of friendships over the years, even to the point where I hadn't held a close friendship with someone for more than a few years at a time.
I can still remember the first real fight I had with Dani. It was in our first apartment together. While I can't recall all the words that were said, I remember starting to build up my wall against her right then and there. Again, I chose to distance myself from a dear friend, at least as much as I could in a shared apartment. It wasn't long before our mutual friends noticed, but rather than taking sides, they fought for our friendship, even when we weren't willing. With their help, Dani and I started to learn what real and long-lasting friendship takes. The cost was higher than either of us bargained for and we had to decide if our friendship was worth it. With time, we boldly decided that we (the always late to the bus, workout avoiding, late-night talking, crafting, faith-building, low to no budget, cookie dough obsessed, Project Runway loving duo) were in fact worth every penny. My friendship with Dani has taught me so many things over the years, but one truth that particularly sticks out is that love endures all things. She has shown me that valuable and enduring friendship is possible--that it doesn't have to stop when the moment ends, or when the challenge hits, or when the hurt comes. We know and accept that life will throw us curveballs and that we will even throw some at each other. But we can forgive. We can learn. We can grow. Love endures all things.
"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
1 Corinthians 13:7, ESV
1 Corinthians 13 contains not only a description of love, but a blueprint for how God loves us. Think of the ways that God endures in His relationship with you, how He bears your burdens in patience and kindness. Loving others the way that God loves us is not easy, but it is what makes true and lasting friendship possible. If you haven't found this kind of friendship yet, don't give up striving and praying for it. And if you do have it, protect it. These friendships are worth fighting for, worth growing in, and worth celebrating.
What has your experience with friendships been like? What has God shown you and taught you through these experiences?
How has God endured in His relationship with you? How has the way He's loved you influenced your relationship with Him?
How can the love you show to your friends be more in line with the way God loves you (like we see in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7)?
Think of your closest friends or the people who you'd like to develop close friendships with. How can you fight for, grow in, and/or celebrate these friendships?