VALUING people is the most palpable relationship currency; it is otherwise known as friendship. Here are just a few things to reflect over when it comes to friendship — something we have the privilege to offer and the blessing to receive.
1. A friend is someone who accepts how we see justice. This doesn’t mean friends always understand how we see justice, they just accept the way we see things, without needing to convince us otherwise or change us. They have empathy. They know that support is couched in respecting our ability to know right from wrong. (Not many mature adults, given cause for reflection, don’t know right from wrong; a friends trusts that we will work it out without needing to be told.)
2. Good friends, therefore, are dignifying. They will pray how to respectfully challenge us on issues we are struggling with. Grace has the upper hand over truth, and, this is appropriate, given that friendship is a special relationship. When trust is implicit, it is remarkable how much licence friends give us to speak truth into their lives. It’s because we know how to love them whilst also being honest.
3. To a friend the offences of a friend are excused with grace. Soon the offender says sorry and seeks forgiveness. That’s the mark of friendship: the relationship matters significantly more to both persons than any one polarising issue.
4. Discernment is nested in a thing called friendship. Friends are able to ‘see’ one another. There are things that friends can see in us that others won’t. A friend will note when we need an extra dose of encouragement, or when we could do with support, and when we need to be motivated. Discernment shows the love of awareness and the commitment of love to speak up or act in kindness.
5. Of course, it’s a biblical principle that friends will lay down their lives — figuratively or actually — for us, and we for them (see John 10:15). There is always the willingness to give rather than receive. And the only exception to that is when our friend’s needs might actually outweigh our own. Then we have the privilege of laying down our lives for them.
The mark of friendship is the behaviour of love from one to another and vice versa.
If we have no friends that make this list of qualities it’s about time we did two things. Pray to God that: 1) we might be a friend like this and, therefore, draw to ourselves friends like this, and 2) he might draw us toward people who will love us like a friend would.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.