Saturday, September 24, 2011

More on Friendship

I still have notebooks and computer files full of the info I gathered as I pondered and researched the idea and art of friendship. It's not doing anyone any good in these files and notebooks so I am copy and pasting and typing handwritten pages like crazy so I can share this stuff with who ever is interested because I do know from personal experience how very important true and lasting friendship is in our lives :-)  

[According to a study documented in the June 2006 issue of the journal American Sociological Review, Americans are thought to be suffering a loss in the quality and quantity of close friendships since at least 1985. The study states 25% of Americans have no close confidants, and the average total number of confidants per citizen has dropped from four to two

The conventional wisdom is that good friendships enhance an individual's sense of happiness and overall well-being. But a number of solid studies support the notion that strong social supports improve a woman's prospects for good health and longevity. Conversely, it has been shown that loneliness and lack of social supports are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, viral infections, and cancer as well as higher mortality rates. Two female researchers have even termed friendship networks a "behavioral vaccine" that protects both physical and mental health] ~ web article 


"The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once described friendship as "a sheltering tree." What a beautiful description of that special relationship. As I read those words, I think of my friends as great, leafy trees, who spread themselves over me, providing shade from the sun, whose presence is a stand against the blast of winter's lonely winds. A great, sheltering tree; that's a friend.
David was leaving the great city of Zion---the city named after him, the City of David. As he came to the edge, at the last house, he stopped and looked back over that golden metropolis he had watched God build over the past years. His heart must have been broken as he stood there looking back, his mind flooded with memories. All around him the people of his household scurried past, leading beasts of burden piled high with belongings, running for their lives.
He was at the last house, and he needed a tree to lean on. Somebody who would say, "David, I'm here with you. I don't have all the answers, but, man, I can assure you of this, my heart goes out to you." When the chips are down and there's nobody to affirm you and you run out of armor and you have no reputation to cling to, and all the lights are going out, and the crowd is following another voice, it's amazing how God sends a sheltering tree.
All of us need at least one person with whom we can be open and honest; all of us need at least one person who offers us the shelter of support and encouragement and, yes, even hard truths and confrontation. Sheltering trees, all!
Thankfully, David had a grove of such trees. As a result he made it through the toughest and loneliest hours of his life.
Do you? If so, it is a good time to call them up and thank them for their shelter. If not, it's a good time to get a shovel and plant a few. You'll need every one. Just ask David."
~ Swindoll


The seven points below came from the same web article that I shared at the very beginning of this post. I went through and researched the Word and added the Scriptural references to each of these points. I love how mankind sometimes thinks they have come up with some grand idea and gained some awesome strategic plan and indepth insight for a good and happy and fulfilling life all on thier own, when God has had all the instructions for this life already laid out for us, in writing nonetheless, for over 4000 years.

To Have A Friend - Be A Friend

1) Desire best for other
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others (Phil 2:1-4)
2) Sympathy and Empathy

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep (Rom 12:15)
And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. (1 Corin 12:26)

3) Honesty

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good (Romans 12:9)
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy (Prov 27:6)
Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices (Col 3:9)

4) Understanding and Compassion

Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. (Rom 15:7)

5) Trust and Emotional Support

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:1-2)
Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves (Rom 15:1)

6) Give and Take

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality (Rom 12:10-13)

7) Don’t judge one another

Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.”  So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.  Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. (Rom 14:1-13)


“wounds from a sincere friend are better than kisses from an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6). If God has placed someone in your life who is willing to challenge you about your spiritual shortcomings, take a lesson from David. Listen carefully—without getting mad—to God’s messenger, and admit your mistake. Then, like David, you can ask God to remove the stain of your guilt, and joyfully sing of His forgiveness (Psalm 51:9,14).

When was the last time someone pointed out some painful truth to you? How did you respond? Why is it sometimes most difficult to confront people close to us about their spiritual shortcomings?
~Jennifer Benson Schuldt


I wanted to leave you with this last quote because I love the questions that she asked at the end. Why is it that we seem to find it harder to address the spiritual shortcomings in someone we are close to? Usually, if we are in the least bit evangelical we are willing to point these out to a stranger, but a close friend or family member we will not. We will walk around the issue, it will be the white elephant in the room, we will leave them drowning in their sin and groping in their darkness and pretend like we don't see it. 

It reminds me of when you are talking with someone and there's a "visitor" in their nose or a hunk of food stuck in between their front teeth and you just act like you don't see it while you talk to them and then you let them walk away and continue to keep these things in their nose and teeth because you are afraid of embarrasing them by pointing it out. Then do you not usually turn to someone else and say, "did you see that bugger in their nose, I could hardly keep a straight face, it was flappin every time they breathed!" (Hmmmm sounds a little like the way most of us deal with sin in a "friends" life as well doesn't it) 

Which is more embarrassing?
To be told by a friend, "hey there's a bugger hanging out of your nose. You might want to take care of that before you talk to anyone else" or to have someone let you go on and talk to fifty more people and then you finally step in front of the mirror and are completely mortified because you have just talked to over fifty people with a bugger hanging out your nose?

Just some things to think about... a bugger is not going to lead to death or consequences that are devasting to bear, but well sin and spiritual darkness... now that's a different story. Isn't it?  

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