Wednesday, December 16

A real friend sticks closer than a brother! (or sister)

Proverbs 18:24 (New Living Translation)
24 There are “friends” who destroy each other,
but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

A real friend sticks closer than a brother. Now, I know about family relationships - I love my family - brothers and sisters, and think we are pretty tight! But this verse from the Word of God says - a real friend sticks closer than a brother!!

Hmmm…. I have done so much thinking today – sometimes my head feels tired of all the thinking, but I am glad for it. I have learned a lot in the past year and a half as I have walked our journey. Learned a lot!! (actually that is an understatement!)
And, I realized today – that for as many questions as I speak out to the Lord – or journal on the pages of my journals...there continue to be just as many qustions or even more tomorrow!

Today I have had some sad moments yet again.(sigh) On the weekend I was in the company of friends. Old friends – and some newer friends – and some whom feel like acquaintances, only because I didn’t get the chance to get to know them much yet. Some of these friends have been friends for what seems like forever. In fact, in some cases, I don’t remember when we first met – it just always seemed like we were friends. Out of the friends that we spent time with on the weekend – one friend has been my friend since grade 4! Some friends were friends in high school. Some friends became friends because of their spouse’s relationship with us. Some of us had our children born the same years, and spent time in a women’s group together. Some of us worked together on committees or within ministries. Some of us were in small group together. One I worked side by side with for a number of years. One is my massage therapist (and a mighty fine one I should add). One friend was my “employer”. One friend I shared a job with. Out of the same group of friends – I was at the marriage of at least one other couple – in fact Alvin was in the wedding party. Two friends there - I had the joy of performing the marriage ceremony! Some of the friends are related to us through our son-in-law. Some friends I speak with daily. Other friends I email and never hear back from. Some friends hug me when I meet them. Others may not even say hi. (always very interesting!)

I am really good friends with the daughters of 4 of these friends. Some of these friends have been in my life for years – others for merely months. Some of these friends make me laugh easily. Other friends have caused my tears to flow often. It was the later that made my day hard today. The reality that in my lifetime, at 51 years of age – all of a sudden I feel like there are some friendships that have changed over the past year and a half. Some friendships have ceased to exist. That makes me so sad – so very very sad. This verse in the Bible about a real friend sticking closer than a brother – I totally get that – because I have some friends who I can totally feel this close with. Today I have been wondering “how far I would go” in order to not jeopardize a friendship. I guess you have to ask first of all – if a friendship is worth keeping? But the other thing is - what in the world would ever cause a friendship to disintegrate. That happens too, and not always by deliberate choice. Sometimes it is just because common interests change - or physical distance between homes changes - and sometimes it disintegrates because of lack of care - or disrespect - or misunderstanding. Friendships take work. But they are worth it!

I have asked myself today a lot about what it is exactly that makes a good friendship last over time and through thick and thin. I have thought about some of my long-term relationships. I think that word RELATIONSHIP is key. Just the word itself implies a love and an understanding. It implies a two-way thing. You can’t understand someone without listening and communicating. Oh boy – communicating!! That’s such a big one. When I look at some of my closest relationships – I see how there is such a give and take. Listening – talking – lending a hand – sharing a heart – wiping a tear.

I have a husband who is a true friend to people. I am so thankful! He is truly my best friend, and has wiped alot of my tears this past year and a half. He has a strong gift of discernment – and sometimes that is a hard gift to have – as he can read people like a book, and sometimes that is hard. He is one of the most giving men I have ever known. The kind of guy who will pull over and change a tire in -30 Celsius…

The kind of guy who will go the extra mile for a person, and expect nothing in return.
He is like this for us, his family. He is also like this for his friends. He is also like this for those he works with and for. This includes the homeless person he picks up off the street, like my friend Barry, or for the senior citizen who holds his hand because they need comforting.

Alvin and I have talked a lot lately about friends. About what we would do for a friend if we didn’t agree with how they were being treated… or if we didn’t agree with decisions being made that had a direct affect on someone. Would we go to bat for a friend? At what point do we turn our back and pretend that there is nothing wrong? And our bottom line is - Alvin and I know one another well enough to know that neither of us can turn our back on someone who needs us – And there is never any point where we would pretend that all is okay if it isn’t.

Alvin and I have talked a lot lately about how our lives are not “compartmentalized” – we can’t just “do family” or just “do work” or just “do church” … We have talked a lot about how we want to live for the Lord – 24/7 so that we never have to make excuses for anything!
With God as our guide, as our refuge, as our deliverer –
With God as our rock, our peace – our hope and our joy.
With God as the one who forgives and chooses to remember no more –
With God as the one who gives second chances – and new beginnings.
With God as the one who treats us with love, mercy and grace…
How could we not react to His love, mercy and grace – without extending it to others?

We’ve talked a lot about how it is hard to be a friend who does not act on behalf of another friend when you see them being hurt, or mistreated, or used. A friend can not stand by and refuse to help... or can they? (Oh Lord, forgive me if that has ever been what I have done!)

Perhaps this is what Solomon in all his wisdom meant when he said in proverbs, “There are “friends” who destroy each other…..”
“… but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”

Lord – today was a real "heart wrenching - thinking - teary - eyed" kind of day as I have evaluated friendships in my life. I know that I want to walk with integrity – and as a woman of God – loving you, living in your mercy, love and grace and also extending that to others – strangers – acquaintances and friends. Old – new – and reacquainted! Lord – help me to not destroy anyone through my actions, my judgments or my words. Help me to be a friend who does stick closer than a brother (or sister!). Give me opportunity today – tomorrow – through my life! Thank you Lord – for all that you teach me – through these relationships. May I reflect you to others. And to you we give the glory!

No comments: