I Need a Friend - part 2
Ruth 1:16-18 “But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.”
Friend to Friend
Friendship is the catalyst for every other love and the foundation of every healthy relationship. God created us to need each other. We need friends and we need to be a friend – even as women in ministry. Over the next few weeks, we will uncover nine keys to healthy friendships.
Key one: Time
Key two: Risk
Friends will hurt you. Friends will wound you. We would be wise to don thick emotional gloves when it comes to handling friendships. It is a fatal mistake to assign the responsibility for our happiness to friends. In reality, depending on a friend to make us happy sets that friend up for failure in the relationship and positions that friendship for inevitable destruction. For example, I have a friend who simply cannot keep a secret. She would do anything in the world for me – except keep her mouth closed. Because I love her and don’t want to write her off as a friend, I have simply chosen to be cautious about what I share with her. Every friendship has a price tag of some kind attached. We just need to get to the place where love covers the cost.
The words of 1 Peter 4:8 say it well, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” In this verse, “cover” literally means to “hide” or “overlook” the faults. Friendship knows the weaknesses are there, but chooses to love anyway! Friendship is always costly but always well worth the cost.
Key three: Transparency
In verse 16, Ruth offers an amazing display of transparency. “Where you go, I will go. Where you stay I will stay.” Your people will be my people and your God, my God.” Openness and honesty nourish friendship. We are naturally drawn to transparent people because transparency produces authenticity. In fact, one of the most winsome aspects of Jesus was the fact that He was so transparent and lived the most authentic life every lived. He did not remain aloof from His disciples. He lived among them, sharing every part of their lives. He ate with them, prayed with them, ministered with them, cried and laughed with them. Jesus repeatedly opened Himself up to the disciples.
John 15:15…”I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father”.
Jesus made a deliberate choice to be transparent, modeling friendship at its best. Was He hurt; betrayed and rejected by those He called friends? Absolutely! Still today, He waits for you and for me, longing to be the most transparent and authentic friend we have. Friendships are not only an important source of encouragement, but a valuable source of strength as well. I am convinced that if we built fewer relationship walls, we would have more friends and be a better friend.
Father, I confess that there are times when I long for a close friend but am not willing to take the risk of reaching out. I pray that You will help me be more transparent and real in my relationships. Please help me to be an encourager. I choose now to pay the price that friendships often demand. And thank You for being my closest Friend. Amen.
Now it's Your Turn
More from the Girls
I don’t like to take risks! I much prefer a “sure thing”, especially when it comes to friendships. I suspect the paths of loneliness are lined with safe emotional choices and the carefully created masks behind which we hide our true essence. Friendship is a precious treasure. Take the risk! Be real! Seek out friendship and dare to be a friend!
For more on this topic, see Sandpaper People by Mary Southerland.
Girlfriends in God, Inc.