The blog is an extract from a message written a few years ago.
I need you to survive
- Matthew 18:19 – Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
- Ecclesiastes 4:9 – Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
- Ecclesiastes 4:12 – If two hold together, that is seen to be good; but if there be three, this threefold bond is likened to a cord formed of three threads, which cannot easily be broken.
The bible has different things to say about companionship and friendship. The aforementioned verses are just a few that are often used to teach us the value that can be found in friendship. They are a nice warm reminder of why God made us as beings that crave fellowship and togetherness.
As humans we cannot survive without one another. Statistics have shown that when an elderly spouse dies, it is not rare for the outliving spouse to die shortly after. We thirst after companionship and this is something friendship provides. Let’s look at Jonathan & David in the bible, known as the greatest ever friends. Following the death of Jonathan, David said in 2 Samuel 1:26 David ‘I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.’ They had formed a bond and deepness of friendship that David loved him more that women and that’s saying a lot! This is comparable to friends who love each other like brothers & sisters. “He’s my brother” “she’s my sister” are things I commonly hear and this is beautiful because true friendship should elevate the level of love we have for one another.
One type of love that is also used in friendship is tough love. In all honesty, I understand the concept of tough love but really dislike it. When the bible tells us all the things that love is, tough is not one of them. There is always a nicer way to say or do something, hence this tough love thing you all speak about isn’t always the only answer left. 9 out of 10 times people use tough love to venomously spew a vitriolic monologue to another person all in the name of love. That’s not real love because love is kind. We can still tell our friends tough things but in gentle way. I’ve seen some people torn down all in the name of tough love, in situations where just ‘love’ would have sufficed. It’s all about learning the love language of one person and mimicking it. It is essential we are truthful with our friends but not hurtful. So let us always remember to operate within the sphere and realm of love. Remember 1 John 4:18 ‘but anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.’
Say what na
As you can tell from the section’s title, I clearly think I’m a stereotypical Southern American ha. But it’s also been impressed upon me to highlight the importance of how we use our mouths in our friendships. Ephesians 4:29 urges us to ‘Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers’.
In all we say, we must strive to ensure we impart grace to the hearer whilst edifying all including ourselves. Now I have some friends who ALWAYS speak goodness into my life and constantly use their mouth to edify and build me up. Then I have a few who unknowingly don’t, be it conversation or through a joke. ‘You’re such a’, ‘You always’, ‘You are’ are such powerful statements that the words that follow much always edify and lift up. When they don’t, that negative word has been spoken and has gone fourth. For us more outgoing people, people feel like they can say anything to you and it won’t affect you because you appear strong and confident. That however, is no reason to use your words whether knowingly or unknowingly to tear someone down. So I beseech you all, think very carefully about the words you speak into the lives of others. For those of you that this applies to, ask God to train your tongue or reveal to you the importance of the words you speak. I like a good joke but I feel like I am always conscious not to speak over the life of anyone in doing so, that is a line I do not cross. To those of you that do, I see you! And I’m rebuking your words at the same time 😛 The only way pure hearted friendship can work is if both parties are considerate.
Equality in friendship
Now whilst the bible discusses what is expected in friendship and the elements that strengthen the foundation of friendship, it does not say that all friendships must be equal. You will not have the same level or nature of friendship with all people. Different friends come into your life for different reasons and as a result, they also play different roles. Many of my close friends come to me for sound sisterly wisdom/advice, to help keep them accountable or to lift them up in prayer. Others come for a more of a developmental-career-mentoring relationship, whilst others come to be encouraged or for someone to laugh with them etc. Point is that whilst I’m still the same person with all, I fulfil different roles and satisfy different needs. This is also how our friends are with us.
Secondly, I’ve come to the realisation that even within the friendship we cannot expect equality. This is something I’ve learnt the hard way.
Some will come to be a blessing, others will come to be blessed and that’s ok. There are some we are used by God to grow and encourage and there are others who do the same to us. So pushing whilst I know do not expect equality in friendship, I am all about is beneficial friendship. In being friends with something you must a least be able to reap one benefit, no matter how big or small. I cannot be your friend and your life is not changed as a result and vice versa. In all relationships, both parties must bring something credible to the table. It will not be the same thing, nor the same percentage or quality because friendship isn’t about equality or mirroring the nature of the other person. I’ve learnt to stop holding my friends to the standard of my other friends, or even to my own high standard but rather to view them through this lense. Very regularly I do a friend check and ask myself this question; how is my life being changed by your presence in it? For those that trigger a negative response, I seek God about the person and when directed I chance course. After all, if you aren’t changing my life why are you in it? For those that invoke a positive response, I thank God for them and pray for further strengthening.
One thing we must not do as Christians is entertain unhealthy relationships that we haven’t been called to be in. I thoroughly believe that if someone isn’t pulling you forward, by default of gravity they are pulling you down. Gravity is an absolute force and so is movement, so for as long as the world continues spinning there’s no such thing as standing still – even in friendship. For those of you that are attentive you’ll realise I only deal with the absolute when it comes to all types of relationship ;). So if someone is pulling you away from God, making you feel bad about yourself, causing you more harm than good – it may be time to rethink the relationship because it may have crept into the territory of an unhealthy relationship. Above all, seek God’s heart for the friendship because you never know which Simon in your life will eventually become your Peter or the Saul that will become your Paul. Just don’t be naïve enough to believe that you and you alone can turn Simon to Peter and Saul to Paul.
Having learnt the hard way last year when I went away to serve and a lot of people became too busy to help carry me through what ended being the hardest time of my life, the Holy Spirit revealed a series of things to me. One thing in particularly brought me to the realisation that you cannot expect 100% from the other person just because you give them 100%. Friendship is not about matching like for like. I’ve now come to realise that some people are only capable of giving you 20% and that’s something you have to learn to accept and value in a God-ordained, purpose driven friendship. Why should I you ask, well it’s because friendship demands sacrifice.
Friendship is sacrifice
All types of relationships we have in this world demand a sacrifice from us. Be it love, time, energy, effort, money or emotion etc, they will require something from you. Like family relationships, partner-based relationships and martial relationships, friendships demand that you sacrifice yourself for the prosperity of the other person. Yet, few people can attest that they walk in this and can confidently claim to be a self-sacrificial friend but many can share in the story of the lukewarm, half hearted friends. My girl Amma tweeted that ‘People look for deceit on the level they would consider deceiving” and that had me like WOOOOW. As I was just taking that in, I got a remix whilst writing this blog. ‘People can only serve on the level they would consider sacrificing’. Friendship requires sacrifice. Friendship is a sacrifice.
Now at one point I will type up my notes and put a blog up on sacrifice & serving so I don’t want to digress but I will say that if you have or find a self-sacrificial/loyal friend, don’t let them go. They are a keeper!! This is because I’ve realised that a friend like that will help push you into your destiny. Notice I didn’t say help, but rather push. That is because they will not be like those other friends that drain or drag on you, nor will they be like the others that try to cut you and tear you down, they will be the ones that always come speaking good news and cheer. The ones that always have a word of encouragement, the ones that are always praying for you, the ones that call you because the Holy Spirit put you on their heart, they’ll be spiritually connected to you and your divinely appointed destiny. The sacrificial friend will help you get to where you need to go by all means and at all cost. They are the proverbial ride or die friends because like John 15:13 tells us ‘greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’
There ends Part 3, stay tuned for the final instalment which will be Part 4!
So let’s spread the word, feed a spirit, encourage a soul!
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