I’m a good friend. Not trying to boast here—it’s just that once I’m engaged in friendship with someone, it’s a devotion I don’t take lightly. God has given me the ability to listen. I want to listen to what people say to me. I don’t want to just hear their words. I want to know what’s behind them, beneath them—you know, the whys and wherefores of statements made and thoughts expressed out loud. If I listen, really listen, I’ll hear the heart of the matter. And I’ve learned that sometimes the real crux of a conversation isn’t what’s said, it’s what surfaces after time spent talking and meandering around those illusive feelings which somehow need to be uprooted before they are distinguishable.
Loyalty is earned in friendship. One might assume it comes with the territory, but to anyone who’s been betrayed by a “friend”, loyalty doesn’t come easy nor is it expected of someone else. Picking friends is a careful process—probably because one hopes to find and be a loyal friend. Some people just aren’t cut out to be friends. That’s why they have an ever changing menu of acquaintances and/or associates, none of whom stick around too long.
I can be quite private, but when it comes to exposing some of the ugliness of sin in my past, I can be frank and downright open if I discern the Lord directing me to visit those unpleasant places. Trust is required in friendship, and like loyalty, it doesn’t come easy for some. It’s interesting how the Lord will use the sinful past to minister to a complete stranger. That soul-bearing impact can create open doors to friendship if administered under the guardianship of the Holy Spirit.
Our friends are not foolproof, and neither are we. Even though the heart’s desire is to be there for a friend no matter what, sometimes we can’t. And sometimes when we wish we had an answer for a situation for them, we just don’t. Other times we love them so much we want to side with them even when they’re clearly—or not so clearly—wrong in their actions or deeds.
True friends are priceless. We can laugh or cry or complain to them and not be condemned. We can call them at any hour of any day if we need to. We can rely on them for prayer, solace, and fun. We need friends.
Father, thank you for the relationship you seek with us. Jesus, thank you for being the best friend, the perfect friend. You are flawless and trustworthy, loyal and devoted. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for instilling friendship in my soul, for helping me to listen, and to love others enough to become a real friend. Make me even better at it, please. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.