Summary: Friendship is a deeper relationship than the world can offer, or wants to offer. Yet, that is what Jesus offers us. He offers to become our friend.
What are Friends for?
The Wounded Friend
Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
A good bus driver is one that follows the traffic laws, looks to the comfort of his passengers, and preferably has had no accidents. A good painter is one that is fast, uses good quality paint and is cautious of drips. If we can make job descriptions sound so simple and easy to recite, then what’s a good friend? Well, it shouldn’t be, but, a lot of times it sometimes depends upon a lot of different things. Take age for instance. If you were to go up to a youngster in the first grade and ask that question you might get something like this: a good friend is someone that doesn’t hit me, doesn’t cut in line and likes the same things I do. Or what about someone in high school? A good friend is someone that remembers my birthday, helps me with my homework (especially if I forgot to do mine), and likes the same things I do. Now, let’s ask the college person: a good friend is there to talk with me when I have problems, or to hang out with, or thinks like I do.
A common misconception that most people have is that friendship is all about me, though they would never dream of saying it that way. Many times people of all ages have this stereotypical picture of friendship: it’s all about me. People will tell you many reasons behind that picture but none of those reasons are without a selfish tint.
Another common misconception that most people have is that friendship shouldn’t take any effort to maintain. Their idea is that if the person wants to be their friend then that person needs to take the proper steps to maintain that relationship. But, is that really a relationship? Is that really what a true friend is? Or, is that a groupie?
Lasting relationships take time and active participation. Lasting relationships take patience and communication. Lasting relationships involve emotions and a kindred spirit.
What is a kindred spirit? It means you are drawn to another person through the Holy Spirit for mutual edification, friendship, and the glory of God!
Now you may argue that a kindred spirit is similar to liking what I like. No, that’s a physical emotion. Let me give you an example. I have a very good friend. Probably the closest person I have on this earth other than my wonderful wife and friend. He likes outdoor stuff, like hiking, camping, etc., while I can barely tolerate it. I like basketball, volleyball, etc., while he can barely tolerate it. He is very outgoing, while I’m not. He likes physical science and nature, I like computers and cooking. We really don’t have a lot in common and it takes a lot of communication to find out exactly what we want to do. But, that communication is the fun part. And, because we are kindred spirits, drawn together by the Holy Spirit, we work at it until we find something we want to do. Relationships take time, but the time is well worth it.
Have answered the question, what’s a good friend? Not entirely, but we have some other explanations that may point us in the right direction.
What do friends look like?
What do friends wear?
What do friends esteem?
What do friends say?
The Wounded Friend
What do friends look like?
The Bible tells us that Jesus, by the world’s standards, was not handsome man. It also tells us, and see our chapter four verse, that He was despised and rejected by men. Most of this was because of the message that He brought to this world. But, what if He had been a lot better looking? What if Jesus demonstrated more charisma? What if He had that type of character that just drew people to Him? Well, the answer is obvious. Many people would have only followed Him because of those things. Just like we do today. We attend church solely based on the great charisma, character, and good looks of the pastor that is leading the church. I mean, really, your friends wouldn’t let you pass one day without reminding you of that fact. Or, would they?
Okay, then, what do we mean, what do friends look like? Are we saying that we should purposefully go out and choose those that everyone else looks down on? No, but we shouldn’t let the fact that other people don’t like that person influence whether we should be friends with them. Let me give you an example.
I’ve spent a lot of time as a missionary in oriental countries. Especially Japan and South Korea. There is one thing that used to be very scarce in the far east and that is people that are very overweight (I say used to because western influence is reaching their waist lines, too.) Now, I’m not a picture of excellent fitness and health myself, but I’ve managed to keep my weight just under the bad for me mark. Well, let’s say that in my travels, I run across someone that is obese. First, we need to understand that, being in an oriental country, that person is going to be pointed out and talked about as soon as they walk by. Sometimes Asian people can get very frank about their thoughts. It’s culturally acceptable, you see.