The Act of Friendship
This last couple of months in our lives has been a “whirlwind” of activity. It all started before traveling to Israel and then just kept staying busy. I arrived home from my last trip (Dallas and then Tulsa) this morning about 1 am and in bed around 2. The first part of the trip to Dallas was an interesting and a pretty good time but the really amazing part of this trip happened on my trip to Tulsa.
I have only been to Oklahoma once before this trip and I was excited, thrilled and expectant about this trip and what was going to happen. This trip was not to disappoint me, and in the process I learned a very valuable lesson about friendship, family and intimacy. Friendship is defined as a “relationship of mutual affection between two or more people, that is characterized with sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, understanding and compassion.” Intimacy is defined pretty much the same and then there is family that includes all of the above. All the same characteristics in each of those three simple words. So are the three words interchangeable, yes and this is the lesson I learned.
I have always and (right or wrong) have taught my children that when you tell someone you are a friend, it is an “all or nothing” relationship. You are there to share with them in all aspects, the good, the bad and the sometimes the ugly. But I never realized the intimacy that comes with friendship. Please understand I have walked many roads with friends but to be honored and blessed to walk in one of the most heartbreaking situations has taught me the Biblical principle of Friendship.
Jesus in his three years of ministry surrounded himself with twelve special men that he called disciples, but they were so much more than that. We have learned that there were a group of at least a 100 that followed Jesus and were taught by him. Many theologians called this group Jesus disciples also. But the twelve were different, they were his friends. They were the ones that when he needed quiet and needed to be surrounded by support, they were the ones he called. When he needed rest, they were the ones that protected him. In our modern terms, we would say they had his back. And with the exception of one, they did. Their example was exactly what the definition of friendship is. They were the ones that he brought to the Garden when he knew his time was coming to end. They were the ones that he was willing to cry in front of and in fact he wanted to be able to show his love and heartbreak in front of. They were his friends that he shared with them the most intimate aspects of himself with.
Although the disciples friendship was not perfect and who but Jesus can claim perfection, I believe that it is written in God’s word to be an example for us. This last weekend, I was invited to be a part of a friend’s life and journey down a road that is painful, heartbreaking and one I don’t think I could walk, but they are and now...their “Friend” is walking with them. As I stated this weekend I learned what a friend truly is and I pray I will always be the type of friend that is characterized by sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, understanding and compassion. And I pray and hope, those that call me a friend are that friend that is what descripted above.….A Biblical Friend.