What a difference a friend can make! While we may many friends in a true, yet rather distant sense, we are fortunate if we need more than the fingers on one hand to count friends who are close. Sometimes maybe too close for comfort, and yet in such friendships there is a grace that more than tolerates that, but welcomes it.
Jesus told his disciples that they were more than servants to him; they were indeed his friends. Because he had made known to them his heart. Friendship is rooted in love. We have a kind of love for another, just as David loved Jonathan as himself, and in his memorial tribute to Jonathan exclaimed that Jonathan’s love was more wonderful to him than the love of women. Of course he meant the close friendship which they had. Rare, so very rare, so that people mistakenly chalk up David’s love as something else.
We should be known as people who are more than just friendly, but who want to be friends. Of course there are limitations. We should be friends first and foremost to certain people, such as spouses, etc. And yet we do well to find someone, or maybe a small group to which we can open up ourselves in being vulnerable, and know that we are accepted and loved. Doing the same for them.
Friends are committed to each other. But for the friendship to be of the best nature, there needs to be a commitment to something beyond the friendship alone. The friendship will thrive when it is about living out the love of God. Friendship will do best when at least one is committed to following Jesus.
In a good friendship we find not only common ground, but a commonality, that is a sort of communion in which we learn to appreciate and even esteem another’s presence. Of course we must be careful here. While I may appreciate that in another of the opposite gender, I must be careful to not let that become something which undermines my commitment of love to my wife. Or which violates God’s command in scripture. I think it needs to have a certain degree of casualness and reserve. There is a communion we read about in Song of Songs, reserved only for one.
We have the Friend in Jesus, and our friends of others in Jesus, and we reach out to befriend everyone, just as Jesus did. The circle can become large, and our hearts enlarged far more than we might imagine possible. So that we are people who love and who receive love. Characterizing more and more who we are, who we are becoming in and through Jesus.
Friendship. A gift from the God who is is more than a Friend, but not less. Who has demonstrated a love which knows no end through his Son. To bring us into his heart of love to be cherished and shared with each other in Jesus, and beyond.