Updated: Sep 4, 2019
By Glyndora Condon MS MFT LPC, regarding the time needed to know other's character before trusting them to be your friend.
Humans are social and it was noted that humans need others as early as in Genesis. Later as the Old Testament was fulfilled and the New Testament was in place; God provided us two laws that basically encompasses 9 of the 10 Commandments: The first is priority-Love thy God with all thy heart, soul, and mind. The second is much like the first but is second priority-Love thy neighbor...as yourself. With this love, then man would not covet or lie, or steal, or bear false witness, or kill, and etc...Therefore to break this down: Love God and Love people! Awesome! John 15th chapter has much to say regarding friends. Friendship matters! We are made for friendship (John 15: 9-17) and to carry out God's plan for us-teaching others about Him. Also, see Proverbs 13:20 and see some words that could cause us to pause and reflect as to what we are taught since it appears that the type of friends we "hang" with help make us who we are. A wise person stated, "Show me your friends and I'll show you your future!"
· We need friends who are Crown Bestowers (borrowed from a sermon-and therefore I want to thank brother Mark for relating these scriptures regarding this vital topic); meaning-someone who we can count on, and someone who will challenge and encourage us to reach our goals; to be our very best.
· And, we need faithful companions (friends) who are by our side, no matter what. These friends love us, (warts and all)...even when we are unlovable.
· We also need a Loyal Wounder as a friend. You see, anybody can be nice and positive; submissive and not rock the boat so as to get along....but it takes a true friend to be honest with love, accepting that they may lose their friend; yet loving that friend to the degree that they are willing to accept that risk; to help a friend to see their "blind spots" in life so as to grow that friend (Proverbs 12:26; 18:24), also borrowed from today's sermon.
Our vertical relationship with God who befriends us in an intimate relationship; as He instructs us in how to be our best; is depicted first in an example of the God-head as each member of the trinity appear to be bonded in friendship- with a common goal-in unity-then helps us to know what our horizontal relationship with each other should look like.
We are invited to walk with, and to commune with them-and with each other. Even when we mess up, God still loves us-even though he admonishes us and allows consequences to occur. True friends are the same with each other. Do we see this on the social media or in other social forums today? Are we strong enough to be held accountable and weak enough to receive grace?
We learn as we study scripture that we connect through our weakness and vulnerability; and receive His grace. And those of us who have been wise to choose our friends well; and who have grown to where we can be vulnerable with them-we find grace during our weakness with them. The quality of our friends determines us, John 15:16. In fact, it has been suggested that we are an average of the first 5 closest friends in our circle. Shelby states that we are one friend away from being a better parent, spouse, employee, child, person, or at a spiritual level that we are trying to reach....which is a sobering thought as we reflect on our friends. It would be sorely risky and hurtful to be vulnerable with a basic stranger; who has not earned the title of friend. Yet people are physically intimate with only strangers who have little to no commitment in today's culture. They then wonder why they draw such negative attention in their direction.
As I have written before in regards to levels of friendship (see Time and Tests can Save My Heart article: We learned that we need time and the ability to test others prior to including them in a certain level of friendship. We had acquaintances, familiar others, friends, best friends, and intimate friends. We care for acquaintances and familiar people when things go wrong for them simply because they are humans...and they hurt. We are influenced by them at times and more by those who are closer to us. Our closest friends who have been able to earn our trust are often who we can be vulnerable, weak, and honest with which is a level of intimacy that many do not earn. These basically love always even when they know all about us, which is humbling yet empowering. These individuals have our permission to point out areas that cause us to stumble or to experience pain; as well as, when we are a factor in their or others' pain. They sacrifice yet holds us accountable. These are special friends who are there 24/7 and few there are of them. (The script above was shared from a borrowed source).
Social media has skewed our discernment and definition of friendship; and/or friends. Complete strangers befriend us, like us-and we think wow, look at all of my friends-yet most of this number are strangers. Most are into their selves and only connected to scan to see if anyone is posting something that they like or hate; so as to react. We then find it difficult to accept their uncensored and unfiltered words or photos; and take some of this to heart...as if that person ever was a friend in the first place-when in fact, we do not know him or her at all-other than what we read. The same often occurs in school as groups gather with same interests yet do not really know each other. Snap chat and chat rooms are filled with strangers who are quick to connect on a surface level; yet who are empty of any real or true intent of a friend.
Our youth and some adults are deluded as to their friends-and are completed destroyed when strangers attack them-as well as; are unconcerned as they attack others who differ from them. We see others whine that they cannot tolerate differences other than what they feel comfortable with and demand others to stop offending them. Some will cause harm if you differ from them. Some will isolate and decide they are unworthy of love due to their own faulty thinking and the cruel things that are said and done-by so-called friends. Perhaps we need to keep in mind that when a person would like us to "friend" them-that this is really an acquaintance request who may or may not be a positive person to associate with.
We are warned to be careful of the company that we keep for a reason. The one who walks with the wise become wise; yet the one who walks with fools are harmed. So-show me your friends and I will show you your future...because friends matter.
Glyndora Condon MS MFT LPC
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