Tuesday, 2 June 2009

[Gotta be somebody]

Friendship is a funny thing.

It was really funny how earlier I was thinking about it anyway, and then I go off to Bible Study for the first time in what seems like forever (it's actually only just over month) and Coral says that we'll be looking at Friendship for the next four weeks or so! It's strange how things turn out like that sometimes.

It was really quite thought-provoking. Having to write down what a real friend was to us was indeed interesting, as I thought that I knew just what I wanted to say. I found that I was writing right til the end of the time given, but that I had hardly started to cover everything that I wanted to say. I suppose that's the thing about friends though - half the time you don't realise how much they actually do for you and how worthless life would be without them.

"A real friend is always there for you when you need it most. They care deeply about you and somehow know exactly what to do or say, which is sometimes nothing. They don't judge you on what you have or haven't done, but they love you just the same regardlesss."

Barnabas (which actually means "giver of comfort" and is derived from the same stem as "Holy Spirit") is a good friend. He accepted Paul/Saul as he was - despite having literally just done a complete about-face as far as persecution was concerned. He (Barnabus) took a huge risk in welcoming P/Saul into the Church in Jerusalem - he could have been discredited or abandoned. He was probably under suspicion as well - imagine, if you were seen being friendly with someone who had made it more or less their life's work to eradicate people from the same religion as you, you'd be looked at like you were slightly mad, wouldn't you? Yet this is exactly what the Bible tells us happened - "26When he [that is, P/Saul] came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus." (Acts 9:26-7)

This is how we can be good friends for each other. Paul writes to the Church in Colesse regarding Friendship. "12Therefore, as God's chosen people," he says, "holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." (Colossians 3:12-14)

This sounds like a pretty good idea to me, but seems quite a tall order to be able to do it to everyone all the time. And this is where God comes in. We don't have to do it to everyone all the time. We just have to do it to as many people as we possibly can for as much time as we possibly can. This sounds surprisingly similar to Wesley's mantra of "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can". What we sometimes forget though, is that "8God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) I find that to be something that's really quite extraordinary. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Imagine. How selfless was that? There was no guarantee that we'd respond. There was no reassurance that it would all go to plan. We were still sinners.

Writing a list of reasons as to why we wouldn't originally think to be friends with someone really made me laugh. On my list was a whole host of reasons why I wouldn't approach someone expecting them to want to be friends. Then I looked through the list, and realised that the vast majority of these things actually applied to one of my best friends, who I really could not do without, despite my insistance otherwise.

Now, doesn't that make you think?

1 comment:

lookingforlimerence said...

thanks emma, i really liked reading this :)