November 10, 2010
A Recipe for Relationships
Micca Monda Campbell
"Because he loved him as he loved himself."
1 Samuel 20:17b (NIV)
So many people today are looking for meaningful relationships, yet so few actually find them. My mother use to tell me to count myself lucky if I had just one "close friend." That's because close life-long relationships are hard to come by. Since we are becoming an increasingly private society, it seems that fewer people than ever actually have life-long intimate friends. Still, the desire for this kind of relationship is not only sought after, but necessary.
Women are naturally drawn to other women. In fact, a girl's first experience with heartache may have been over a lost "best friend" rather than a "boyfriend." Women value friendships. When they are lost, we grieve; not just over the friendship itself, but also for the secrets shared, the trust given and the acceptance enjoyed. If betrayed, the pain runs deep causing us to wonder if intimate friendships are really possible.
When I think of a biblical example of real friendship, the story of David and Jonathan, found in 1 Samuel 19, always comes to mind.
Jonathan, son of King Saul, was David's closest friend. The King despised David because he was growing in popularity and because God had anointed David to be king. These facts enraged King Saul, and he commanded his aids and Jonathan to assassinate David. But Jonathan loved David; therefore he would not betray David.
Love isn't the only fruit of true friendship. A real relationship consists of sacrifice too.
We discover in this story that Jonathan stripped himself of the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his armor, his sword, his bow, and his belt. Jonathan was the potential heir to his father's throne, but we see him sacrificing his future for David as he literally gives David his place as king.
You and I learn from this action that true friendship means a willingness to sacrifice for each other in love. It's the ability to put another's needs, desires, and wishes above those of our own.
Loyalty is also a mark of true friendship. We're told that Jonathan went to his father and spoke well of David. Jonathan also stood up to his dad and said, "Dad, you're wrong about David. He hasn't done anything against you, in fact, everything he's done has helped you." A true friend is a loyal defense before others; one who won't talk about you when you're not around. True friends stick up for each other and are ready to defend when others attack.
Finally, intimate friends give each other complete freedom to be themselves. In an intimate friendship, you don't have to explain why you do what you do. You're just free to do it.
When Jonathan gave David the sign that things were not okay in the palace and that his dad was going to kill David, the two were forced to say goodbye. The text tells us they wept together.
When your heart is broken, you can bleed all over a friend like this and she'll understand. She won't try to comfort you in your misery or tell you to straighten up. Intimate friends let each other hurt and they weep together. If your friend needs to complain, you will listen. Intimate friends don't bale, they stay. They allow you to be yourself no matter what ‘self' looks like.
If you're looking for a Godly recipe for relationships, look no further. Mix together love, sacrifice, loyalty, and freedom and you can create an intimate friendship that lasts a lifetime.
Dear Lord, help me to be a friend like Jonathan. Then, bless me with the same. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
An Untroubled Heart: Finding Faith that is Stronger than My Fears by Micca Campbell
Visit Micca's blog
Cultivating a Heart of Contentment (CD) by Micca Campbell
The Friends We Keep: A Woman's Quest for the Soul of Friendship by Sarah Zacharias Davis
Turn Your Girlfriends into Sisters, our Everyday Life article offering great friendship tips!
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Develop the kind of character that attracts others. While David had enemies, he also had a growing number of people who loved him. People are naturally attracted to someone who shines with God-like attributes. One the other hand, most are turned off by mean, selfish people. Whatever is on the inside will show on the outside - so ask God to develop in you the kind of traits that draw people of good characteristics.
What kind of friend am I?
Do I exhibit loyalty, love, freedom, and sacrifice in my relationships? Why or Why not?
John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (NIV)
© 2010 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 10 November 2010.