Tag Archives: honest

Friends Needed

6 Aug

Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

I wonder. Do you have one of those friends? You know, the one who will tell you to lighten up on the amount of garlic you eat because it is causing a disturbing body odor. Or, the one who will mention a habit you have that offends others—like a nervous laugh at inappropriate times.

I recall one of the major TV stations had hired a new weather forecaster. He did his job quite well, but he had this irritating laugh. People began turning to different news stations because of it. I also remember when he got rid of the laugh pattern. Someone had to have been that friend to him, maybe even helped him find a way to re-channel his emotion. Whoever that was took a risk that paid off in abundant returns.

With my writing, I participate in two critique groups. I’ve learned to examine my writing partners’ comments closely. My wife’s critiques were sometimes the most cutting. Early on, I told her she was misreading what I’d written and missed the point. A well-directed question on her part got me to explain what she couldn’t see. To that, she pointed out I needed to put what I said on the paper because it wasn’t there. I changed. I learned to hear my lack of clarity through the critiques of others. I appreciate having writing friends, but I need more daily living friends who take such risks.

I fear our society has lost the treasure found in those friends, lost them to the I’m-OK-you’re-OK thinking, the believe-your-own-truth philosophy, the political correctness pit, and the as-a-matter-of-fact-the-universe-does-revolve-around-me mentality. Add social media to the recipe, good friends then become a rarity, and friendships become a disposable commodity.

From Master to Friend

Before Jesus was arrested, he called his disciples friends. “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you,” (John 15:15, NKJV).

This declaration over his disciples suggests they could move their tassels on their graduation caps, but the disciples don’t react, or at least nothing is recorded. Did they sit back? Lean in closer? Maybe some put their arms around the neck of the one standing next to him and gave a slight hug. By Jesus’ words, their relationship to him shifted from disciples (understudies) to equals. They received their divinity degrees. The one who created all things called them friends. That should have meant something to them and gotten a reaction.

The dialogue doesn’t reveal any reaction by the disciples until several verses later in the next chapter. Even then, their reaction has nothing to do with the cosmic shift that took place in that verse.

Reading through the rest of the chapter into the next two, Jesus tells his closest followers what they can expect from their Jewish friends, family, and neighbors—especially those in authority. He then draws his teaching to a close by plainly stating he came from the Father into the world and would be returning to him.

The disciples finally heard what they had been waiting on for three years. Their response reads like a unified sigh, declaring they now believe because he spoke without mincing words.

Jesus questioned their claim because he knew they would soon scatter and deny knowing him, leaving him alone. (See John 16:28-32.)

That had to have hurt. Again, John doesn’t record the disciples’ reaction. Jesus doesn’t even pause to let the correction sink in, or so it seems. He gives a comforting word. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33).

Eleven True Friends

He then prays for them, and they go to the garden. Jesus said things that hurt and followed it up with words of comfort and hope. Judas walked up to him in the garden and gave him a kiss.

Another verse in Proverbs connects with this muse of mine that I can turn into a prayer. Proverbs 18:24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Lord, send me more true friends by helping me be a better friend to them.

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