So just to set the scene a little… I’m sitting on a boat in Malta, it’s about 30˚C and I’m at my favourite place (the Blue Lagoon) with my friend Gayle. Somehow this feels like the ideal place to organise my thoughts.
Friendship has always been a massive thing for me. From a young age, my mum told me about the importance of being a good friend. This advice became especially helpful during my teenage years. I am a guidance teacher now and say it on a regular basis, “if we want to have good friends then we’ve got to be a good friend.”
So what makes a good friend? Romans 12:15-16 (MSG) says this:
‘Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.’
I think that’s a pretty good place for us to start. As I write this, there are two things that I would like us to think about – how Jesus is our best friend, and how we’re to be friends to one another.
With Jesus, it’s amazing! He’s the creator of the world, yet He wants to be friends with us…! It sometimes blows my mind that He wants to laugh at my silly blonde comments (if you know me at all you can insert the most recent one here); yet He also wants to be my comfort when I’m upset. Ali Elder recently spoke in a sermon about how hard it is to interview Will-I-Am because he will only allow certain questions to be asked. God wants to talk to us and listen to us whenever, wherever, whatever! He is always available and ever ready to speak to us through the Bible.
I absolutely love the song ‘Army’ by Ellie Goulding – minus the swearing 😉 She wrote it for her best friend and it was actually my own best friend who introduced me to it. The lyrics go:
“Dark times, you could always find the bright side
I’m amazed by the things that you would sacrifice
Just to be there for me”
Jesus is always by our side. He wants to use all things for good. In the dark things that we have done, or that have been done to us, He wants to find “the bright side”. He is always there for us. The last part of that song is so true. It really is incredible what He would sacrifice – death on a cross so that we could have life eternal with Him in heaven. That completely amazes me!
People say that with friendship you start to act like the people you hang out with. I know that is true for me. I’m awful for copying phrases or accents from people, especially my pupils (#sorrynotsorry). My challenge for you and for myself is to spend more time with the person who should be our best friend – Jesus – then people will see that we are more like Him.
But how do we become better friends to one another? And how do we even make friends? It’s hard as an adult to make friends. I am sure there are a few people reading this thinking, “it’s okay for you Christine, you’re bubbly, you’re an extrovert, you’re single, you have time”. Or maybe you’re thinking, “I’m actually quite happy with the few good friends that I have. It’s better to have a few good friends than many shallow friendships”. I would agree with that last thought somewhat. But only to say that we shouldn’t have any shallow friendships. We are called to be the light of the earth and to bring Christ to our friends, colleagues, team mates and family.
I like this translation from The Message of Matthew 5:46-48:
“If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
It’s easy to sit in our own bubble of friends and family, yet there are so many people who don’t have that friendship and as Jesus asks in this passage… do we expect a medal?
One of my dad’s favourite bible passages that he lives his life by is Matthew 25:35-46 which teaches us what we should do:
“I was a stranger and you invited me in.”
Being Christ’s hands and feet in the world, I would hate if there was anyone in my life who was lonely or broken-hearted and I wasn’t there for them. The thing about being lonely or hurt in our society is that people are very good at hiding it – with a smile, with an “I’m fine”, with busy lives. But we must truly get to know someone and we need to love them before they will let their barriers down and this does take time. A great way to do this at church is to go to a small group – share life together, laugh, joke, eat food and wipe each others’ tears.
And if we don’t have many non-Christian friends, maybe we should make some more! So I thought I’d wrap things up with some top tips on making new friends…
- organise a work night out
- invite someone round for coffee or out for a drink
- host a come-dine-with-me meal with a group of work friends
- join a group (fitness, book club, whatever your interest is) then ask someone out for a drink afterwards
- keep in mind some conversation starters – how was their day, what type of music do they like, what do they think about…(insert news story here)
- play a game of two truths and a lie if it’s a bigger group
Finally, I thought I’d leave you with a quote from the wisest of snowmen, Olaf…
“some people are worth melting for!”
And I hope we all have people like these in our life!
Written by Christine Lloyd
Christine can be found on Sunday mornings at our brand new Laurencekirk site – often behind the keyboard or playing the bass. She’s a guidance teacher and absolutely loves her job… most of the time! She has a very unique laugh so people generally hear her before they see her. If you do see her, say hello… she loves to meet new people!