Jesus is quoted in the Gospel of John as saying to His disciples, “I have called you friends.” Obviously, friendship mattered to the Lord. It should be important for us, too.
In one sense, friendship is a simple thing. No vows are necessary. No formal declarations are required. But simple doesn’t mean easy! After all, friendship involves a caring commitment. What is required for friendship?
C. E. Rawlings tells us how to be a friend. He says, “Friendship means listening (even when you want to talk), crying together over things that matter to one of you, being present in good times and bad times, and lots of times in-between. It means sharing secrets, opinions, ideas, problems, jokes, and successes. It involves putting the other person’s welfare before any task or event, never being too busy to make a phone call or to take one, and celebrating the fact that the other person is alive on this earth. Nothing in life is more empowering than having a friend like that!
“It’s also true that it takes two to have a friendship. You can’t simply decide to be someone else’s friend. True friendship always requires mutuality of effort and respect as well as openness and love.
“And then, true friendship requires cultivation. It doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time, and more time, sharing, and more sharing. It requires a willingness to work through misunderstandings and survive differences of opinion, agreeing to disagree.
“It means overcoming jealousies and admitting weaknesses. Friendship takes effort but it’s worth it. To have a friend, you need to be a friend. And in being one, you’ll give the ultimate gift; you’ll give yourself.”
For those with good friends or those seeking this kind of friendship, this is good news that you can use!