Friendships seem to ebb and flow. One thing I have found is that true friends can be hard to find, especially the ones who will stick by your side through all the ups and downs. I guess it seems more people can find a reason not to forgive and move on to another than those who are willing to forgive and build the friendship. I know that I am forgetting that this world is not full of those who love and know Christ, but so many Christians can be first in line to rip a friendship apart. It just doesn’t seem to matter. We, I included, forget our example in Christ and how to treat each other, love each other, and serve each other. I think we all want more from people who are sinners can provide to our egos. Jesus knew this and that is why he said to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Then again I don’t think I know how to love myself enough to forgive myself, so how can I forgive others. How can they forgive me?
John 15: 12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
Of course, I know how to forgive and I try to open the door for forgiveness because I do not want to carry the burden. I want to let it go and seek reconciliation, but sometimes I just have give the burden to the Lord because “the friend” wants to carry the burden. Only God can take that burden from them if they choose to forgive and release it.
Proverbs 17:9 “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”
Just because I know how to forgive doesn’t mean that my sinful nature forgives the many times that it should the way the Lord expects. I stop sometimes and think back to how many times, I have carried the burden and expected so much from someone because I thought I was the one being hurt. I was probably the one doing the hurting and creating the separation that Jesus does not want between friends. This haunts me. Do I count others over myself, or do I make myself more important. Why is something like forgiveness so hard when in reality it is so easy. I guess I forget so often the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Instead of placing that on others we should first practice it even when we don’t think we should be the one to forgive because when I do, I really see my sin.
Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
Luke 6:31 “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
God has recently provided in my reading so much about friendship and related scriptures that I need to reflect on, but the ones that drive me are found in Proverbs. I want to be the friend that loves, that stands by a friend better than family, and shows others Christ in my life and actions. I can’t do that when I hold grudges and fail to forgive those around me, especially my friends. I am listening to you God and trying to focus on the people you place around me. I am trying to be a better friend to those new people you place in my life and those who have been in my life for so long. I realize how blessed I am to meet so many great people you have designed and created. We are all different, and sometimes we forget that you created all those differences in each of us, yet sometimes the differences shine so much we see them as imperfections not gifts.
Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
Proverbs 18:24 “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 12:26 “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
So I must stop being the one in charge. I must stop trying to make people give me and do what I want. God just calls me to love. Why would someone want to be my friend if I am angry at the world and at them, but at the same time as I love others, I must also be careful of angry people in the world. God does not call me to get wrapped up with angry people who may pull me from the arms of God. As hard as it is to remember, God is the one who seeks vengeance not me, so that I can love even those who bring anger, seek hate, and desire relationships that are not of God. May I be the example of Christ in others lives. May I be the friend that Christ calls me to be. By following Christ’s example may I provide encouragement to others and lead them into your arms, Lord.
Proverbs 22: 24-25 “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”
Romans 12: 19-21 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
Above all may I learn to live by the words of Job.
Job 6:14 “He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.”