Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thoughts on Friendship

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you" (John 15:13-15)

As our children return to school an important and vital discussion to have with them concerns the friendships they will make.  The friends we have certainly influence us and it is even more so in the lives of children.

"What is true friendship according to the Bible?"
Answer: Jesus gave us the definition of a true friend in our key passage for today.  Of course, Jesus is the pure example of a true friend, for He laid down His life for His "friends." What is more, anyone may become His friend by trusting in Him as his personal savior, being born again and receiving new life in Him.  But this is not the only passage that gives us direction and insight on friends.

There is an example of true friendship between David and Jonathan, who, in spite of Jonathan’s father Saul's pursuit of David and attempts to kill him, stood by his friend.  You will find that story in 1 Samuel 18-20. This friendship went far beyond being “buddies” as some would see it.  The very soul of David was intertwined with the soul of his dear friend, Jonathan.  The difficult circumstances surrounding their relationship actually drove them closer as they stood in defense of each other.  This is a truly inspirational friendship which gives strength to Proverbs 17:17A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."

Teaching our children to use wisdom in the selection of their friends is one of the most important acts we will do as parents.  Proverbs 27:17 warns us that "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.When our children get involved with the wrong kind of friends, their lives can be devastated.  As they return to a school or start in a new school in the weeks to come, a priority of parenting and grand parenting is to monitor who they are gravitating toward and what kind of relationships they are seeking.  It is not wrong to ask questions about who they are spending their time with and the values of their new acquaintances.

Many young people believe that being popular is most important so they seek to develop relationships with numbers of others teens while compromising their personal values and convictions.  "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24)  Someone has said that if you can count your true friends on the fingers of one hand, you are blessed. A friend is one whom you can be yourself with and never fear that he or she will judge you. A friend is someone that you can confide in with complete trust. A friend is someone you respect and that respects you, not based upon worthiness but based upon a likeness of mind.  Children need to learn the value of nurturing one good relationship that can last a lifetime.

Our Scripture to Claim is one we need to remember and remind our children of for Christ clearly showed us friendship.
"For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:7-8). Now, that is true friendship!

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