Sunday, September 2, 2012

What is a Friend?

In light of a conversation I had this week with a sweet young woman, I'm posting something I wrote a while back, April, to be exact.  I have no idea WHY I didn't publish it at that time, but here it is...

When I was growing up, in school and as a child, I didn't have what I would define as a "best friend".  As time passed, in college, still no "best friend".  No girls with whom I shared secrets and the deepest things in my heart.  I don't think I was the easiest person to get to know actually.  I think I may have been inapproachable at times.  On the outside, where everyone looks first, I seemed all put together.  But on the inside, where not many venture to go if you look "okay" on the outside (that means you're pretty or thin and don't seem to have many outward flaws) I was so very insecure. I had no idea who I really was and as a result I could not totally open my heart. I couldn't allow anyone to know what was really there, fear, doubt, insecurities...they would use it against me some how, I was sure.  I always desired that intimate friend, that soul mate but it never really materialized back then.  I'll never forget finally realizing at one point that my mother was the closest thing to a best friend I had.  But, as we all feel, there are just some things you don't want to share with your mother. :o)

What is it about opening our hearts, becoming vulnerable that presents us with a sense of having to protect ourselves, put up walls to keep people from finding out who we really are? What keeps us from being HONEST about our failures especially.  I know what it is, you do to...its FEAR!  Fear of REJECTION...thinking that IF someone knows what I really think and feel or what I've done or what's happened to me, they will not ACCEPT me.  They will pull away because I am such a failure, I won't measure up to what they think I am based on what they see on the outside.  Their IMAGE of me will be shattered.

Images are funny things, they're just that, an image...they are not the genuine article, they are just a reflection of PART of what something or someone really is.  There is no depth to an image, it's flat and empty and void of real meaning.

I'll never forget revealing a part of my fallenness to a friend.  Her response was not judgmental or harsh but a question "You don't really feel that way, do you"?  She was disappointed that I was revealing to her that I was a scoundrel, a sinner and capable of thinking and feeling some pretty rotten things.  But still, it was a rejection!  Her "image" of me was being destroyed by the truth of who I really was on the inside.  I purposely revealed these things because I felt she had built me up to be something I was not, at least apart of Christ.  She didn't seem understand that it wasn't ME that she was seeing but Christ at work in me.  We are dirty rotten scoundrels all, that should be understood.  Paul quotes from the Old Testament in Romans 3:


“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”

So how do we endeavor to achieve these heart relationships?  What does a good friend look like?  How do we become a good friend to another person and what do we seek in return? 


GRACE is the underpinning of being a friend.  

Are you, am I, being a true friend?

  Read the definition below and do a little self-examination.  This is good stuff!!


My true friends are the ones who love me deeply despite my flaws
but also have a clear view of those flaws.
They’re the ones who don’t shrink back from telling the truth
but who stir love, kindness and gentleness into those hard words.
They’re the ones who will give me grace and the benefit of the doubt on my bad days
but shut the lights and close the doors on extended pity parties.
They’re the ones committed to do life with me even when it’s messy,
but they bring Fantastic along for the ride.
They’re the ones who will celebrate my successes
and mourn my defeats right by my side.
And I do the same for them.



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