Friends are something we all want. People we can trust, who we can share with, who can help us and we can help in return. No doubt we can all think of such friends. Of course some can be trusted more than others. There are some we can enjoy socialising with but we would not share share inner feelings to. There are grades of friends. We need all sorts. But we need close friends.
And then there are people we trusted and let us down. Perhaps we got hurt. That makes it difficult to trust people again. Some people get hurt so much they can no longer have close friends and do not let anyone near their inner feelings.
Of course we are told Jesus is the best friend we can have. He can always be trusted and never lets us down or hurts us. But we still need close friends, friends who can interact with us the way Jesus does. And there are no doubt people who need us as a close friend.
To be a friend like Jesus we can't just talk about being a close friend. We need something more. We need the Lord himself in the friendship. Let us call this a "Godly friend". A Godly friend is going to be like Jesus to us and we are going to be like Jesus to them.
The following is an attempt to describe what such a Godly friend should be like:
- friendship is based on a shared love for the Lord and commitment to his will .
- friends enjoy talking about their common interest - the Lord.
- friends lead us closer to God, they do not want to do anything that might pull us away from him.
- friends want the best for each other no matter what it costs (even if it means losing out themselves), they want to see the Lords will in their friends life.
- friends are loyal, they protect each other, even when they themselves might end up sharing in the difficulties. They genuinely care for each other and stay friends through good times and bad.
- friends encourage, when life is tough and the Lord seems a long way away, they stick close and help to point you back to the Lord, they focus your attention back on him.
- friends can be open and honest with each other with no fear of condemnation. They listen and can be trusted completely. They can be let "inside" - hopes, fears, dreams and hurts can be shared.
- friends see each other through the Lords eyes and so see the best and believe the best about each other.
- friends pray for and with each other
- friends give and ask for nothing in return.
- friends are able to say sorry when they hurt or wrong one another and can forgive. They are sensitive to each others feelings and feel each others pain.
- friends will gently correct when correction is needed, even when it would be easier not to, and will hang in there whatever the response.They never try to pull down always to build up.