Friendship is one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity – we were built for community

He built us to glorify Him, but He also built us for companionship. So whether you are reading this as a "happy single,” a "happily married man or woman," a “loner,” or any other label that might apply, please hear me. You and I were made and meant for community.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a call from an old schoolmate. He and I had forged an enduring friendship over more than three decades. After marriages and families and careers and many address changes, we didn’t speak often but we had maintained touch. And when we did talk, we picked up right where we left off. I’m sure you have a comfortable friendship that works that way also.

Well, after the small talk had ended, the real reason for this particular call came out. He and I had history - we had moved from becoming boys to men together. We had seen one another through so many tests and trials and ultimately had both come to a level of spiritual maturity over the years. He knew that I would “shoot him straight.”

He had recently had a chance meeting with an old girlfriend, some sparks flew, and he was calling to get my "opinion" on his desire to reestablish a connection with her.

It didn't take me long to process that opinion. Without condemnation, I reminded him of his wife of several decades and their children. In short order, I told him I thought it best that he "leave that alone," that there was nothing there he needed to pursue. In other words, he needed to lose her number.

He was silent but he listened. He eventually called me back and thanked me. He said, "I knew it, man. I just needed to hear you say it."

I don’t count myself as the greatest friend but I am loyal and that is an illustration of the value of a real friendship. We need one another.

It is a purely rhetorical statement to say that God knew what He was doing.

But God knew what He was doing.

He built us to glorify Him, but He also built us for companionship. So whether you are reading this as a "happy single,” a "happily married man or woman," a “loner,” or any other label that might apply, please hear me. You and I were made and meant for community.

I don't mean for one second that there are not those who are content in their singleness. But inevitably, every human needs genuine connection – we are wired to be better together.

God gave us so many amazing gifts and, without the pricking and provocation of the Holy Spirit, we might fail to recognize some of them. Friendship is certainly one. Real friendship is truly a pearl of great price.

Vanessa and I were just recently reminiscing over some of our favorite movies over the years. Those movies are good watching them by oneself but are so much better when we watch them together. A wonderful meal is good when eating alone but it so much more savory and enjoyable when eating with loved ones. Joy is multiplied when you share it with others – and somehow, sorrow can be diminished when it is shared. Knowing you are with someone who cares can make a world of difference!

The Bible has chronicled examples of some marvelous friendships for us, some models to look up to and emulate: David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, even Jesus and the Apostle John.

I remember thinking to myself that John might be a little smug, calling himself “the disciple that Jesus loved.” But when Jesus hung on that cross, John was the only disciple who was there until the end. Jesus thought enough of John’s character to entrust His mother Mary to him. John was His loyal disciple - and His trusted friend.

It is very important for you and for me to have people in our lives who love us enough to tell us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. No one wants to be bulldozed and blasted, but there are times when even the most godly of us, even the best of us, have blind spots. I’m very thankful that the Holy Spirit sometimes appears to me in the form of a shapely 5’2-1/2” inch woman who answers to the name “Vanessa.”

There is no amount of money that can do justice to the benefits of a godly friendship.

Successfully navigating this sinful world can be a difficult undertaking, and it is so important to have a support system. Godly friendships can help us walk through the tough times. Conversely, friendships with the wrong type of person can take you down a slippery slope, and God has given us fair warning.

Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, Lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul, Proverbs 22:24-25.

Friends are among our biggest influencers. We should seek to surround ourselves with those who will influence us for the good! Godly friends respect you, will stay by your side during the challenges of life, pray for you, and will also call you out when you’re going left and need to be going right. They will forgive you when you’re out of line. They will laugh with you, and they will cry with you too.

They will also point you to Jesus, using words if necessary!

Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel, Proverbs 27:9.

Let me say it again – we need each other. And if Jesus is the center of it all, it’s all the better. The Bible tells us so:

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.

There are times when we have to put distance between a long-standing friendship. If they are walking a different path, be an encourager, be an example, and never shut the door but be mindful if they hinder you from drawing closer to Jesus.

Always remember – those of us who are inhabited by the Holy Spirit know right from wrong. Yes, we may stumble at times. But just like the sophisticated GPS after taking a wrong turn, there will be a course correction as we recalibrate. Sometimes, the holiness of God is so overwhelming – it can seem so far away from us in our lustful, fallen flesh. We feel embarrassed to acknowledge we failed again, even though He knows.

Sometimes we just need to hear truth from someone we trust, a true friend, to tell us what we already know. Sometimes, they just need to hear us say it.

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