Summary: How can we be sure that our lives are filled with deep and meaningful relationships that grow over a lifetime?
24 July, 2005
Dakota Community Church
Fostering Meaningful Friendships
Proverbs 27: 9
Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.
In one of the Barna Reports by Christian pollster George Barna I read that one of the leading trends in our society post 2000 is a movement away from meaningful friendships.
We are becoming a more and more closed society. People are often spending their days moving through a crowd of strangers and coming home to an isolated or artificial existence.
Recent Local News Story:
An American man is recovering from severe frostbite in a Manitoba hospital after trying to walk from North Dakota to Winnipeg in an attempt to meet his Internet sweetheart.
"I was a desperate man who found a desperate way to try and be with the woman I love," Charles Gonsoulin, 41, said from his hospital bed in Morris, Man.
"I wasn’t aware of what the weather conditions would be," said the Los Angeles resident. "It was a lot worse than I thought."
The self-employed mechanic lost his way after setting out from Pembina, N.D., last Saturday with plans to sneak across the Canadian border to Winnipeg. A 1984 conviction for robbery meant Gonsoulin couldn’t legally enter the country. He planned to then board a bus to Quebec and meet the woman he says gave him the will to live two years ago after they met in a chat room
I like the “Malcolm in the Middle” episode when the older brother is flying to Florida using a plane ticket paid for by some lonely guy who thinks He is meeting his sweetheart girlfriend for a first visit.
These stories illustrate a sad truth; people are not connecting in real and meaningful relationships.
An abundant life requires people to share it with. Spiritually based friendships have the ability to run deeper than anything the world can offer and yet there are many, many lonely isolated Christians.
“Close friendship with a man or woman is rarely experienced by American men. As a result there is a craving for community with others in our society.”
- Yale psychologist Daniel Levinson
What can we do about this situation? How can we be sure that our lives are filled with deep and meaningful relationships that grow over a lifetime?
Aside from a few things that should be obvious; bath, brush your teeth, and wear deodorant everyday. Learn to be interested in someone other than yourself, chew gum after eating garlic bread, don’t be a one upper, listen without thinking of what you will say when its your turn to talk again.
Four things that will help you win and keep friends:
1. Draw your life from God.
You will not succeed in building and maintaining close friendships if you are always sucking the life out of everyone.
There must be give and take for a friendship to last.
John 4: 13-14
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
2. Deal with your hurts.
Hurt people hurt people.
Genesis 4: 3-8
In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let’s go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
"On the 19th of November 1967, in the vicinity of Dak To, Viet Nam Chaplain Charlie Waters was moving with one of the companies of his Battalion when it engaged a heavily armed enemy battalion. As the battle raged and the casualties mounted, Chaplain Waters, with complete disregard for his safety, rushed forward to the line of contact. Unarmed and completely exposed, he moved among, as well as in front of the advancing troops, giving aid to the wounded, assisting in their evacuation, giving words of encouragement, and administering the last rites to the dying. When a wounded paratrooper was standing in shock in front of the assaulting forces, Chaplain Waters ran forward, picked the man up on his shoulders and carried him to safety. At least 6 more times Chaplain Waters went outside the perimeter to rescue wounded soldiers, exposing himself to both friendly and enemy fire. Chaplain Waters was giving aid to the wounded when he himself was mortally wounded."