I don’t know about you, but that word doesn’t always conjure up the best memories. Friends who betrayed, friends who talked behind backs, friends who didn’t stay. Friends who wanted something more but weren’t entirely convinced of the idea themselves. Half-hearted friends.
Yet…I have the privilege of keeping up with some of the most amazing friends I know. Friends who drop everything they’re doing just to grab a cup of coffee. Friends who wake up at ungodly hours to pray together. Friends who’ve gone to Budapest and back with me. Those type of tough love-giving, fierce hug-giving friendships bring light into my life.
Does a friendship ever end? Jesus calls us friends, despite the crazy sinners we tend to be. It makes me question what rights I have to declare undying friendship or not. I believe in loyalty, love and honesty. I believe God is the paragon of all these things. I also believe loving God is the perfect friendship, one that none of us even remotely deserve.
God is the kind of God that has shown me friends like none other. When I was twelve, He gave me a community. He gave me true friendship when I had only caught glimpses. I prayed through depression and loneliness. He answered through Grace Chinese Church, smack-dab in the middle of Fayetteville, AR. Years of struggling and feeling alone matched alongside one prayer? A full answer bulging with newfound love, friends and struggles to boot. Hard though it was, I learned how to take my first baby steps as a Christian. Stumbling, bumbling me…at least it was in the right direction, led by friends. These were tough men and women of Christ, unafraid to cry alongside me but also equipped with the ability to rebuke in love. Extraordinarily broken people refined by a perfect God.
Whenever I’ve had a dark thought of ending my life prematurely, God has always provided, if not an earthly friend, Himself. The Friend who is more than enough, more than words can confess. In Hong Kong, when I felt utterly disgusted at my own hypocritical behavior, I had a conversation with God. It was really hard, full of tears and anguish. It also changed my life. That day, I learned a bit more about who my Savior is. God the Father, seeing not my sin, but Christ’s sacrifice. He loves me, even when the whole world turned its back. He loved, loves, is loving me.
What right do I have to end a friendship? The simple answer? I don’t. However, I do believe some friendships are misnamed. They are not friendships per se, but they look a bit like: competitions or comparisons. Perhaps they weren’t friendships in the first place.
Let’s start fresh, then. Let’s start with friendship.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” –Proverbs 17:17 ESV