Friends – A Prize Part II

This initial perusal through friendship ends with this chapter. We know intuitively that friendship means having a common bond, but it can be a common bond caused by almost anything. It can come from shared worldviews, being of the same blood, common hobby, favorite color or preferred coffee house. This randomness of friendship is part of its uniqueness. In truth, the only common bond that is required for friendship is our humanity. The fact that we discover and develop valuable relationships with anyone at anytime anywhere is a proclamation of the inherent value of human life.

It is this nugget of truth that provides the backdrop for the positive aspects of friendship being a prize. Remember that a negative view of prizing friendship thinks that everyone needs to value you more, but a positive view thinks that you need to value everyone else more. A right orientation of friendship gets that friendships are more valuable than gold, stocks or retirement funds. A right orientation of friendship gets that the value the friendship brings is in direct correlation to the value the other person holds. This value is not found in the other person’s skills, appearance or personality traits nor is it arbitrary. It just does not correlate to you or your appreciation for your friend. The reason friendships can occur with anyone at anytime anywhere is because it recognizes our value as God’s creation.

It is not surprising that we find our value in God and determine how to value each other based on God’s perspective. While the intent of this is not directly to argue against abortion or racism (which we’ve already touched upon) you cannot help but see the correlation between the devaluing of life in general and a topsy-turvy turning upside down view of friendship. Every time we make friends and build friendships, whether we like it or not, we declare and give testimony to God’s design and his constant, absolute stand on the value of human life. The reason we find joy in friendship is because it raises our voices in harmony to give glory to God because of the wonder of his creation. We are driven by this.

There are many examples in my life when others recognized the prize of friendship with me. Acts of kindness that involve hugs, kisses, shoulders to cry on, an ear to hear and even a seat to rest. These physical manifestations had as their backdrop a spiritual reality that includes encouragement, empathy, edification, and exhortation. I can’t even imagine how many warriors have come to my aid on the battleground of prayer. The same is true for you. However, the truth is that the greatest acts of friendship done to/for me are things I will never know about. The sacrifices many have made to pave the way for my maturity is sweet song in my heart. It is a salve for my being when I want to be stubborn, hard hearted and selfish because it tears down the walls of rebellion with utter and complete disregard for the sin that seeks to dwell within. God’s ways are wonderful and mysterious indeed.

While Scripture is saturated with examples of friendship being prized the way God intendeds the ultimate example is found with Jesus. He teaches in John 15:13-16 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”You are My friends if you do what I command you. “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”

Jesus, being the perfect leader, not only tells us what the real love for friends looks like, but he lived it as well. And that is why he died for us. There are almost innumerable reasons given in the Bible as to why Jesus died. One of these reasons was because he had his own love for his friends that carried him forward on his path to Golgotha. What was the condition of this friendship? Nothing other than his choosing of you. It is not based on your personality, work ethic or talents (Romans 9.11). No – he chose you as a friend because he could.

So here we are looking at the epicenter of friendship and we find the issue of life and death. Maybe you will be called to give your life in a similar manner as Jesus though I doubt it. But I have no doubt that you will have ample opportunities in relationships where you will be faced with the opportunity of extreme selflessness for the well being of the other person. This is when the line is drawn. Are they your friend?


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