In high school we got sick of the M. Smith song, “Friends are friends forever.” Real life teaches you it isn’t true. Those you thought were friends for years can forget you and even turn on you if you don’t live up to their expectations. And it hurts.
I used to use the teaching tool: A true friend C.A.R.E.S. when teaching kids:
C = challenges you to be a better person
A = accepts you just the way you are, they don’t reject you when you mess up
R = respects you, they don’t do things to hurt or damage you, they don’t ‘get even’
E = encourages you – they are there when you need them most
S = sticks with you, no matter what
A genuine friend who was in town this week said something that I wanted to post here:
“A friend is someone who runs in
when everyone else is running out.”
I just wanted to say thank you to those who have been a genuine friend to me in the past several months… there have been many, and often not the ones I would have expected. God has known just who to send along at just the right moment. Thank you.
I also want to say I’m sorry to those who I have not been a good friend to; and there are many. I was a very fast-moving, on-the-go, things-to-do, places-to-go, ministry-to-get-to guy who had many friends… but few deep friendships. I have been discovering so much about friendships and what it means, and what it takes, to develop the ones that really count. It really doesn’t matter how many people “like” you – what we need are people who love us… unconditionally. In what I thought was “ministry zeal” I blew right past many potential friends. I’m sorry.
Second to last, I want to say, if you were a friend who has been out of touch for awhile, perhaps since I left my church, I miss you. Don’t assume there are people swarming around my family in love and support – there isn’t – and don’t assume I’m off onto my “new life” and don’t miss or need you, I do. It is very hard to leave behind eight years of fun, and friendships and fellowship and simply “move on.” Part of life is moving on, but I would like friends to be friends forever. God has been so gracious and has shown my family his mercies and grace in many ways in the past months… but we are really missing the friendships that were a part of our daily life. We miss you.
Lastly, and finally, I want to say if you ever find yourself in a place in life, or situation, or struggle or temptation or trial or time where you think there is no one you can turn to or tell – I know that feeling – I’ve lived there, and I stayed there for tooooo long, it’ isn’t true. You have a friend. Of course, there is Jesus! But there is someone else – you just need the courage to take that step of faith and turn to a friend and trust them. Yes, there is a chance the friendship will disappoint you, the trust may not be mutual, there is a good chance they may judge you, or reject you, or cast you off, BUT you will still have done the right thing – for you will find yourself on the path of resolution or restoration or refinement by getting your sturuggle out from being hidden in your heart, and into the open where it can be dealt with.
There is the age-old saying that I’ve taught kids many times, “If you want good friends, you must BE a good friend.” I am discovering just how painfully true this really is. I find myself missing and wanting good friends, and discovering just now much I failed as a friend to others. Something I am working to change in my new and continuing friendships.
I invite you… join me in the effort of developing genuine deep friendships, the type that take time and trust. There will come a time when you will need them, and more importantly, they will need you. I hope no one who reads this will ever find themselves in a place where they desperately need genuine friends, and find they aren’t there.
If you do, you can always call me, whoever you are. I am committed with a new zeal to be the type of friend I wished I had had more of this past year.