I have to admit that my wife Becky is much better at making close, intimate friendships than I am. Mind you, I have many friends all over the world whom I know and admire. But, most of my friends are associated with what I do rather than who I am. Becky is more like the following story on being a true friend by an unknown author. Here's the stone cold truth of being a true friend.
When you are sad — I will jump on the person who made you sad like a spider monkey jacked up on Mountain Dew. When you are blue — I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you. When you smile — I will know you are plotting something that I must be involved in.
When you are scared — I will 'rag' on you about it every chance I get and if it gets really bad, we'll high tail it out of there together. When you are worried — I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining, you big baby! When you are confused — I will use little words. When you are sick — Stay away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever the heck you have. When you fall — I will point and laugh at you.
This is my oath…I pledge it to the end. "'Why?" you may ask, "because you are my friend."
Jesus spoke about close intimate friendship to His disciples in John 15:15. "I'm no longer calling you servants because servants don't understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I've named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the Father." That was a whole new level for them. They were promoted from outsiders to insiders of God's family business.
What did Jesus mean by calling them friends?
First of all, friends love unconditionally. "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Proverbs 17:17. Jesus promised unconditional love because He is now their friend and brother. He is for them. Walter Winchell says that a real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.
Secondly, friends are consistent. "Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family." Proverbs 18:24. Someone once said that true friendship isn't about being there when it's convenient; it's being there when it's not.
Thirdly, friends care enough to confront. Friends speak the truth in love, not with a glove or shove. "Better is an open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy." Proverb 27:5-6. Someone once said a true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked.
Fourthly, friends give you counsel and different perspectives. "Oil and perfume make the heart glad, so a man's counsel is sweet to his friend." Proverbs 27:9. "You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17. Sometimes we need building up. Sometimes we need friends to get us past our blind spots.
Lastly, friends are available. "Do not forsake your own friend….Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother far away." Proverbs 27:10. My family gave me life but my available friends help me survive it.
That's what Jesus meant when He called the disciples friends. He means that for you too. You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes you meet people you can't forget. Those are your friends.
Note: This excerpt was written by pastor Ed Delph from United States who was invited as a speaker by chapter president Dr Rakesh Rai at KL Menara Hap Seng FGB (Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship) on March 8th at 1 pm. Ed Delph is the founding pastor of Hosanna Christian Fellowship church in Phoenix, Arizona. He received his Doctorate of Ministry in February 2003 from the Phoenix University of Theology and is also currently the President of Nationstrategy, an organization that unleashes the potential of leadership in community. He has also authored many books such as the 5-minute Miracle, Learning How to Trust and Church @ Community to name a few.
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