True Friendship

There’s something magical about a truly dependable and loyal friend. It’s difficult to explain. That absolute trust and love between two people. They’d do anything for each other, and it’s considered a treat when you’re able to do something special for them. Just to see them smile or laugh, or get that deeply touched expression on their face.

Many people are confused about what friendship means. They think friendship is absolute tolerance, acceptance or approval. That’s so far from the truth, though that is the cultural “norm” these days. Have you seen that bumper sticker: “Friends don’t let friends do stupid things…. alone” or “Friends come to visit you in jail, best friends sit next to you in the cell and say ‘Man! That was fun!’” That’s our culture’s version of friendship. True friends can look you in the eye and kindly but firmly tell you that you’re letting your fears get in the way of God’s will, that you’re not putting God at the center of your life, not trusting him. True friends are not afraid to stand up for whats right, even if they think your reaction won’t be pleasant. They want what is best for you as a person, not necessarily what makes you the happiest. (At least, not at the time.)

A true friend is one that will turn you down if you invite them to go with you to a trashy movie, even if they are free that night, offering to do something else with you instead. Something honorable. Or even just suggest a different movie! It’s really not that complicated, it’s just not always easy.

You should never feel like you have to work at pleasing or keeping a friend. It should be a mutual work. And yes, I did just say “work”. A team effort. Friendship must be maintained. It is constantly under construction. Building up the foundations of trust and unity so that when a truly enormous storm comes, you can lean on each other rather than being blown apart. The goal is to make the bonds between you so tight that no person, no disagreement, no hurt feeling or circumstance can wedge itself in and separate you. This doesn’t mean you’ll never have arguments, hurt each other’s feelings or bug each other. It means that even when you do, you are able to be humble and work it out together. Say you’re sorry, maybe even get teary-eyed, and then be restored to more than you were prior.

You know those martial arts people who break boards and bricks and look like they really ought to have broken every bone in their body by now? Well, guess what? They have! They started out with small stuff and worked their way up to the bricks and heavy boards. Every time they break one, they get tiny little micro cracks in their bones. (I haven’t tried it, but I imagine they get pretty darn sore, too! It’s painful.) During the in-between times, when they aren’t breaking things, the tiny cracks heal. In fact, the cracking-then-healing process makes their bones more and more dense each time, making their bones stronger than they were when they started! This is just like friendship. You get in an argument or say something hurtful and a tiny crack forms in the foundation of the friendship. And it hurts!! But when you come together and make things right, you fix the crack and make it twice as strong as it was originally.

Always keep close in your mind those times when you’ve been really down, yet were trying to keep up a happy front and your best friend saw right through it almost instantly. Or those telepathic looks that make it next to impossible to keep a straight face, knowing exactly what your friend was just thinking. Those are the times you want to have handy when a storm comes, to remind you of the reason why you’re bothering to refill those cracks. It only gets better over time, if  both of you are willing to mix up the mortar and get a little dirty.

  • Notes: I wrote this back in July of 2010 for school, but I wanted to share it here with you.

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