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  • Writer's pictureDavid Crayk

Friendship



By David Crayk,

Diamonds in the Rough Ministries


Friendship is important because it helps us build connections with people who share our values or interests. Friends help us prevent loneliness or isolation and are supportive companions as we work toward living purposeful lives. They can also encourage us to pursue our passions and dreams and offer support or advice in hard times.


1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (NIV).


A Christian friendship allows room for accountability and encouragement from both sides. A true friend is one with whom you are comfortable being yourself. You can confide in them and completely trust that the words they say are intended to build you up. There is a shared heart of forgiveness and encouragement.


But everyone knows that often friendship can turn sour, become a source of drama in your life, and abruptly end over a minor disagreement. Sometimes your core values change and you lose common ground. Friendship can only be maintained by two people, and reciprocation must exist for it to survive. It’s easy to be a good friend when things are great but you often realize who your true friends are when things go wrong. 


Proverbs 18:24 reminds us that a good friend “sticks closer than a brother.”


I lost a good friend recently over something I “joked” about on the Internet. As is the fashion of our modern world, she instantly “ghosted” me. Ghosting is the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation, withdrawing from all communication. It inspired me to address the issue like Jesus would so I wrote a parable.

 

The Parable of the Two Gardeners

Once upon a time, far, far away, in a little village, lived two gardeners. They lived next door to each other and their names were Miss K and Mr. D. In rich soil, in between their houses, the two gardeners, in a partnership, cared for a beautiful rose bush. This rose bush, full of roses, was so beautiful that it won many awards for its perfection. It was a great source of pride for the gardeners in particular and the community in general. Visitors from faraway lands, hearing of the bush’s beauty, made pilgrimages to the site to gaze upon the bush during bloom season.


But one morning while Miss K was gazing outside her house’s side window, she saw Mr. D by the prized rose bush. Mr. D, who suffered from seasonal allergies, accidentally sneezed on the rose bush, splattering its foliage with snot and spittle. Miss K was horrified! How dare Mr. D soil the roses? How could he be so careless? Mr. D should have had tissues to blow into when he was near the bush! It made Miss K angry at Mr. D!


As a response, Miss K refused to speak to him. Mr. D, noticing this, left messages on Miss K’s phone to call him. Mr. D sent written messages to Miss K that went unanswered. Knowing something was amiss in their relationship, Mr. D consulted a mutual friend and found out Miss K was upset because Mr. D had carelessly blown snot and spittle all over the rose bush. Mr. D sent many written apologies to Miss K which went unanswered.

Mr. D continued to care for the prized rose bush. Miss K was so upset she stopped caring for the bush. After a while, the roses on the bush lost their previous luster. The bush became ordinary, and the admiration from the community and the pilgrims stopped.


Frustrated, Mr. D stopped watering and caring for the bush and it soon died.

The Rose Bush represents the friendship we once had, that both of us cherished, nourished and grew to fruition. Over a small grievance, my friend ended our relationship suddenly and without explanation.


Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Today, one year later, my friend has refused to forgive me and I have given up hope that one day we might be friends again.


In order to maintain friendships, there are many things to consider especially within our walk with Jesus.

 

Be Intentional with Your Time

When we make time for a friendship, we need to be present. This means no distractions like cell phones. We should be fully engaged in listening, ministering and caring for our friend’s hopes, dreams and concerns. Throughout Scripture we see that when Jesus was with His disciples, He was all there, totally involved and not wasting time when with them. 

 

Be Vulnerable

In order to have a Christ-based friendship, you need to be honest about your struggles. Talking about how you are actually doing, sins that you are struggling with and seeking your friend’s advice are great ways to push yourself to vulnerability.

 

Be in Prayer

If your desire is to have Christ-centered relationships, then prayer is not optional! Praying for your friend is helpful and encouraging but praying with your friend is invaluable.

 

Encourage

Encouraging your friends takes little effort but makes all the difference. Consider not gossiping about them or divulging secrets they have entrusted with you. Praising them for the good work they are doing, especially for their dedication to the gospel, is a great practice and will grow your friendship.

 

Have Fun

Your time with your friend doesn’t have to be filled with discussions about problems or theological subjects. Have fun, share activities with your friend and most of all laugh together!


In Ecclesiastes, Solomon says; “And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun” (8:15 ESV).

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