How to Experience Friendship
My Family Hope article by Wesley Stout 12/22
This morning I went out to pull weeds in my garden. Pulling weeds has been a large part of Daddy God’s teaching technique for the past few years and He talks a lot some days while I work there. Today He talked about people, especially young people, and how they have such a misconceived idea of what friendship is. Here is the gist of what He said.
He opened the conversation talking about how people meet, fall in love, and have children without understanding what wedding vows are. I thought of so many people that I know that have avoided marriage and said, “I kind-a understand how they might not trust marriage. Even in Christianity most marriages fail.”
He said, “Without a covenant, there is no plan for success. They began the relationship with the understanding that they will accept failure as a way of life. They fear being locked into a relationship with someone they no longer love or can’t tolerate.” Then He began reciting the contemporary vows of a relationship, “I promise to love you as long as you are interesting and supportive of what I want in life. I will love you if the sex is good, the money is available, and you don’t get old, ugly, and broken down. If you become a burden to me, I want to be able to walk away. When we have children, they will have to understand that people are not perfect, and we don’t have to tolerate each other when things get difficult.”
Then He said, “Children grow up being taught friendship by movies and television. They never heard me crying to them about how those things are a trap by their enemy. People who have spent fifty or sixty years living together as one, in marriage or just being friends do not get enough respect from the younger generation, so lessons go untaught and unlearned.”
Let’s consider the word friend. What does that mean? Is it someone who treats you the way you want to be treated? No. That is someone being friendly. You can go to a used car lot and find friendly. Friendly is perhaps the biggest marketing tool there is. It can be faked so easily for all the wrong reasons.
Stop asking who is friendly? That question is so misleading because it finds good and bad friendly, not friendship. It is the open trap that breaks hearts, locks people into debt, steals their substance, health, and joy. Friendly also steals souls. You cannot know who your friend is until that person has had the opportunity to stand by you when it hurt them too. When a friend is tested through pain, lack, and fear, you never have to ask, are you, my friend? Friendship speaks through time and trouble. Friendly is how one acts while a friend is who someone is.
Rather ask, who am I being a friend to? If you understand that friendship is a gift you present to others, you have laid the groundwork and planted seeds for others to prove themselves worthy of your friendship. If someone stays friendly through your good, bad, and ugly, they are a friend. If they get what they want and leave, they were a thief and an enemy. Be very careful what you make vulnerable to unproven friends. I plant seeds in my garden. I harvest good crops and pull weeds out by the root and toss them away. Plant your seeds and judge what grows.
Am I a friend? If you have not proven yourself as a friend, others have the right and even the obligation to walk away from you. Being a friend does not have an agenda, demand conditions or self-gratification. It’s a statement of who you are. It is better to be careful who you allow inside your intimate circle than to become a shattered person and leave a trail of broken hearts and wounded people behind you.
How do I find true love? The best answer to that might shock you. You will have to read on to understand what I mean because you don’t just find true love. True love is arranged by the one who put you here, Daddy God. Yes, perfect marriages are arranged by God as a part of the perfect plan for your life. On a personal note, my story. When I was a teenager and started thinking about girls, I was led to a story in the Bible, Genesis 24: 1 – 14, about Abraham finding a wife for Isaac, “do not find a wife from this region.” I felt that Daddy God was speaking to me, and I did not date at all. I waited. Then when I met Mary at a church camp, I asked Daddy God, “Is eighty-one miles far enough away?” I think He laughed. We have been married over fifty years now and I do not regret a minute of it.
Imagine marrying and then discovering that you have made a mistake. Marriage is an act of faith. Lust, loneliness, distraction, money, comradeship, even what we think of as common sense are not reasons to marry. If a relationship is meant to be and planned by God, why let doubt kill your perfect dream. Believe in miracles.
What if I have already married the wrong person? This can be difficult for you but the need for a miracle is the same. Daddy God is the God of second chances. If you are in a physically risky situation, get some distance and start praying. It may be time for Daddy God to recreate your situation. Salvation says in 2nd Chronicles 5:17 that all things are passed away and all things become new again. God can somehow work things out. Keep believing, learn spiritual warfare, stay safe. You do not have to live with an abuser, but you do need to war in the spirit for victory over evil even if you must pray while you are running. All you need is a miracle. Have faith, be patient, be careful and remember that who you are, not who someone else is, is the most important thing.
Friendship is so much more than being friendly. Friendly is more often a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Friendship is a tested virtue and not a convenient pleasure.
Friendship is more about who you are not how you are treated.
Perfect friendships are created and planned in Heaven and happen in an environment of faith and spiritual maturity.
Anyone who asks you to compromise your morality, wisdom or integrity is not your friend.
True friendship is worth more than money. When you find it treat it with respect, honor, and love.
John 15:13, Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.