(This was originally posted on July 9, 2019)
This is part four of a five-part blog series on Friendship.
I mentioned two benefits of friendship in last week's post: We accomplish more, and we become wiser.
Here are two more benefits of friendships:
1. We become more like Christ.
Jesus makes an astonishing statement in John 15. When talking to his disciples, he told them that he regarded them as friends. Read his words in verses 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.”
Remember the many times Jesus seemed to be exasperated with his disciples? How long will I have to be with you? Are you still without faith? How is it that you do not understand?
In John 15, Jesus is now revealing to the disciples that they were not just pawns in a cosmic game; they were his friends.
Friendship was important to Jesus, and it should be important to us as well. Tim Keller goes as far as to say, "The less you want friends, the less like God you are." (sermon, Spiritual Friendship)
2. We should look less weird.
It is no secret that our friends influence us. This truth should serve as a warning and an encouragement to be open to friendships that will help us be better.
Proverbs 22:24-25 says, "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.”
Here is the warning: If you are friends with angry people, there is a good chance you will become an angry person. If you are friends with complainers, you most likely will develop a complaining spirit. Be judicious when choosing your closest friends; they will influence you.
But the main point here is that friends should make us more presentable and less weird. At some point in our lives, we all have mustard in our mustache and need a friend to tell us about it.
Have you ever been talking to someone who had something on their face? It's a real problem, isn't' it? It is distracting but you don't want to embarrass them even though you know they probably would like you to point it out to them. Furthermore, we often don’t know if we have the level of relationship to tell them about it! That's when we need a friend to say, “Hey man, there’s something in your mustache.” Friends tell us when we have something out of place.
However, friendship should go beyond telling someone about food on their face. Friends should be able to tell us when we are too angry or too preoccupied with self-justification. Friends should be able to tell us if we are thinking as a citizen of this life rather than a citizen of heaven. Friends should be able to tell us when we have mustard in our mustache.
Do you have friends that feel comfortable with telling you when something is out of place? Are you that friend to someone else?