The gift of true friendship l Worship

By Mark Smith, Mukilteo Presbyterian Church | Mar 07, 2018

How are you fixed for friends? That's an important question to ask yourself.

Having some friends is not only nice thing; it’s crucial to your emotional and physical health. We are made to live in relationship with others.

Researchers have shown that people who isolate themselves from others and who have few friends actually get sick far more often than those who enjoy regular contact with others.

The more close friends you have, the longer your life expectancy.

Friends are a great blessing from God.

“Friendship is the greatest of worldly goods,” wrote C.S. Lewis. “Certainly to me it is the chief happiness of life.”

Yes, everyone needs a friend. Having friends is essential to life; it gives life meaning and certainly makes life more interesting.

But what makes for true friendship?

“A friend loves at all times,” says the biblical proverb. “And a brother is born for adversity.”

A friend loves us at all times, even when we, ourselves, are at our most unlovely.

No matter how much we blow it and make a mess of things, they accept us all the same. Their love is unconditional, without strings attached.

Someone has said, "Real friends are those who, when you make a fool of yourself, don't think you've done a permanent job.”

We can be ourselves before them and never doubt their love.

Such a friend will listen to us without lecturing and confront us without condemning. They will defend us when we are not around to defend ourselves.

They will find great joy in our success and happiness.

How blessed we are if we have friends like that!

And a true friend will grieve with us when we grieve and will bleed with us when we are wounded and will encourage us when we are down.

“A brother is born for a time of adversity."

They are not going to desert us when our lives fall apart and problems seem to overwhelm. They are not going to abandon us because they don't want to get involved. It’s true isn't it, that it is in times of adversity we discover who our true friends are.

When we are ill, when we are facing surgery, when we are having an emotional or a relational problem, our friends - our real friends - rally around us.

What a help and comfort they can be!

Do you wish you had friends like that? Someone gave this wise advice, “If you want a friend, be a friend.”

To whom can we come alongside and offer our love and our support? To whom can we lend a helping hand? To whom can we offer an encouraging word?

Rather than holding back in our loneliness and fear, waiting for someone to befriend us, maybe we need to take the first step toward another.

It can be risky to reach out to another. It may cost us our time. It may lead to disappointment or hurt or rejection.

Whenever we open ourselves to another and begin to love, we always expose ourselves to the possibility of getting hurt.

But if we just stick to ourselves, we will never know the blessings of true friendship. It’s worth the sacrifice.

The truth is, we all have someone in our lives who has willingly sacrificed himself on our behalf, and whose love and friendship is everlasting.

He is someone who loves us just the way we are, who promises never to leave us or forsake us, even in the worst of times - who understands our pain and our struggle and can help us carry the burden because he suffered.

His friendship with us cost him a great deal.

"No greater love has one than this, that he should lay down his life for his friends [John 15:13]."

What a friend we have in Jesus!




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