Many people have trouble hanging on to long lasting and meaningful friendships where there is absolute trust and truth in the same friendship. I’ve had my own challenges at times with being this kind of friend and finding this kind of friend. As I’ve sat with the Lord in His Word and in a posture of prayer before Him more and more, I’ve been amazed by how safe I’ve felt in His presence, despite His holiness and worth. His Word is full of terrifying realities about His wrath, His perfect character, and His worthiness for all creation’s praise. However, there are also so many promises of His favor on the lives of those who trust in His sufficiency and particularly the sufficiency of Jesus’ death and life for us. In this place of knowing His favor more and more intimately in a posture of prayer, I’m reminded that flavors of this trust and truth are available to us in human relationships too.
How so? The Holy Spirit works in believers to will and to work for His good pleasure. God works in and through us as we interact with one another and with those we encounter together. This is where the magic happens so-to-speak. This is where sparks fly for fireworks of grace and joy in the Redeemer’s Good News. It’s all because of Jesus’ death and life for us that we have God’s promised Holy Spirit to work this joy in our lives and through our lives.
Friendships take a ton of prayer in order to be jam packed with both trust and truth. The best friends are those who demonstrate both trust and truth between each other. I’m reminded of how fragile friendships can be when I hear about the world teenagers walk in these days. Teens can be extremely mean to each other, making and breaking “best friend” definitions for their relationships like shoes going out of fashion… I can become someone who is no longer your best friend like a shirt that doesn’t look right on your back. I don’t look right to you being your friend any longer. I should move on and so should you.
Reading this morning about Nathan and David in 2 Samuel, I’m reminded that we need friends like Jonathan in our lives but we also do well to look for friends like Nathan. The best would be a few friends who function in both areas well – bearing both affection and truth. We need to be reminded of God’s favor through our friendships, but we also need our friends to not hide the truth from us. May we speak the truth in love and not lose our friendships over it as often as possible. All to often believers can feel they are “just showing tough love” when they speak their minds and willingly lose their friendship by doing so. Is it possible that friendships can be deepened if the practices of patience and affection are mutually implemented while feathering on the truth-sharing as trust is gained? Let me simplify this process:
May we build up one another in the Lord by showing His affection for us by loving one another consistently with gentle and affirming reminders of His promises and un-earned favor.
May we be patient with one another and not be the bearers of the data about sin and weakness too often. Most of us know full well where we fall short. Patience builds up the soul of the one to whom it is shown, readying them for the storms of criticism as time passes.
And finally, may we feather on the truth-sharing as God opens doors of trust and safety in our friendships.
A true friend is one who shows so much of God’s favor through the years that both parties are still in the room when hard truths are shared, maybe with tears on faces, and able to embrace and thank God for one another.